Where you can read the relatively rational ramblings of a silly half-monkey, half-boy. This freak of nature is named Joel. He also responds to the name 'Bart Wang'.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I'm busy watching CSI

More good reading material for you to peruse while I solve a murder with Grissom and help Dog The Bounty Hunter find some hoodlums...

Agnieszka Tennant - What Would Jesus Buy?

Steven Greenhouse - How Costco Became The Anti-Wal-Mart [This one is for Leanne Muir!]

Monday, January 30, 2006

Shakin' All Over!

I'm watching a special on CBC about the origins of 'the Canadian sound' in music. It's pretty great. After Fred lent me the book, 'Have Not Been The Same', my interest in Canadian music grew exponentially. This TV show is right up my alley. It's nutty to learn about how many of the songs I hear on Oldies 1150 (my favourite radio station) are actually Canadian!

I've read a lot of excellent articles on the Christianity Today website. I never would have guessed it to be a fairly progressive-minded magazine. There has been some regressive crap (for instance, read this drivel by Charles Colson in which he suggests playing music on the radio is 'dumbing down' Jesus' message) but there has been plenty to keep me interested and challenged. Here's a list of some recent articles I've enjoyed recently. Dig in!

Brian McLaren - No Cowardly Flip Flop

Andrew Paquin - Politically Driven Injustice

David P. Gushee - Five Reasons Torture Is Always Wrong

Sunday, January 29, 2006

So this is what it feels like to be a man

I have a beard. Many of you know this by now because you've seen it. I think it's quite impressive. I'm no Dave Blondel but I can grow some significant facial hair. It will only last until Melanie insists I shave it off. I'm hoping that's not for a while. Nothing beats not shaving. Ok, several things are better than not shaving but it is still pretty high up the list of super-great things. Here's some pictures to show you the new me...

I think it's dashing. Several people at work told me they liked it. So did Christina Vandermark. I trust her opinion more than your's - provided your offering a dissenting perspective. Keep your negativity to yourself.

Friday, January 27, 2006

It's a love-in!

Darren Conley posted a link to an article in the Hamilton Spectator today about John Campea's site, The Movie Blog. John started the site back in 2003 and was running it with Lapsley and Todd before they left and started their own movie site. Anyhow, John started doing an audio edition of The Movie Blog that involved him and Doug Nagy talking about (mostly mainstream) movies. I loved it because I don't get to see Nagy enough and I think he's one of the funniest guys I have the pleasure of knowing. Sometime later, Darren joined the crew one day a week. Darren is also a hilarious guy and a perfect complement to the discussions. The audio edition was nominated as one of the top five podcasts on the WHOLE INTERNET! Go here and vote for them. Make sure you vote for PostSecret too because that's such a killer idea and it is always interesting when it updates every Sunday.

When you're done, you can regularly check into Breukelaar's blog too. He has linked to me several times so I figured I'd return the favour. Dave's smart, tall, funny and tried to keep my wife from getting even more drunk so I owe him. Hahahaha.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Socialismo o muerte

The election hubbub is over and we have a new prime minister. His name is Stephen Harper. He's from Calgary and he's a Conservative. Word is he is also a Christian. That's a lot of 'c' words. Anyhow, there's been a lot of mud thrown at Mr. Harper over the years because he's a Conservative and because he's a conservative Christian. Politics is such a messy game. At the same time, there has been a lot of defending Mr. Harper by Christians. Why? Because he's one of us.

As Christians, we have a nasty habit of dividing the world into categories. One category contains 'us' and the other category is 'them'. Everyone who is not a Christian is not allowed amongst 'us'. They belong to 'them'. Oh, but whilst it appears to be simple, be confident that there is a whole lot of fighting about whether or not some is a true Christian and whether they're allowed to be in the 'us' group or if people would relegate them to the 'them' group. Crazy, ain't it? Who are the gatekeepers? I suppose each person plays that role for them. They likely surround themselves by people who support similar ideas so there is little conflict amongst 'us'. Or the small pocket of 'us', at least.

Now, as for Christians and politics... It gets confusing for me here, if it wasn't already in the discussion above. Christians tend to vote based on two issues: abortion and gay rights. These are the defining issues for civilization as we enjoy it in North America, according to the words and actions of many Christians. You will find almost single-minded allegiance to the Conservative party in Canada amongst 'us' (i.e., Christians) because they have, historically, opposed abortion and gay rights. For many Christians, the good news of love, acceptance and freedom found in the person of Jesus involves no abortions happening and no homos getting married. What? Yeah, it is stupid, isn't it?

I should have thought of it earlier in the campaign but I didn't until a few hours before the polls closed. I sent out this article and a brief message to many of my Christian friends in the hopes that they would begin thinking more about their political positions. As of last year, the Conservative party no longer opposes abortion. Well, individual members might but it was no longer a defining issue for the party as a whole and it was dropped from their platform. I just happened to see it in the newspaper (which I just happened to get for free that day) and I copied it out so I could share. This is what it said.

Abortion debate shot down
Maria McClintock
Toronto Sun - Sunday, March 20, 2005
Ottawa Bureau

The Conservative party moved closed to the moderate middle yesterday after convention delegates defeated many Reform-era policies and shot down attempts to re-activate the debate on abortion.
Throughout the policy debate in Montreal it was clear the 3,000 party faithful heard the signal sent by leader Stephen Harper in his keynote speech Friday night – that he would not legislate abortion, and that party members should focus on issues that Canadians care about.
Despite that, the door remains open for MPs to bring forward legislation in the Commons on any issue they choose.

Slim margin
New Brunswick delegate Nargis Kheraj was pleased the members shot down the abortion motion although it was by a slim margin.
“This battle has been fought before. Women have been fighting this for a hundred years … we do not need to revisit it,” said Kheraj, who urged delegates to end the debate on abortion once and for all.
“I’m really pleased we really got to the point, that we have agreed that abortion has no business being on our platform.”
Other motions on euthanasia, referendums and the notion of recall of MPs were all defeated, a signal party members want to convince Canadians the party is prepared to have more mainstream policies on its books.
While there was an apparent shift, it ground to a halt on the divisive issue of same sex marriage. An overwhelming 75% of delegates voted in favour of a Conservative government introducing legislation to keep the traditional definition of marriage – a stand MP Belinda Stronach said will have political implications on the party.
“We are all here because we want to form government. We want to broaden the base of support, we want to be inclusive, and we want to form a pan-Canadian party,” Stronach said following the vote.

‘I want to win’
“Yes, I am worried about the political impact that this will have on the party. I’m in this because I want to win and I believe we must show that we are an open and inclusive party.”
Attempts to establish a youth wing of the party were also shot down after a lengthy debate, so the party will continue with the status quo of developing its campus clubs at universities and colleges.
Also removed from the party’s platform were planks calling for the creation of a citizens’ assembly to adopt proportional representation, holding elections on fixed dates, referendums for constitutional amendments and general referendums for issues of national importance.

I hope that this causes a lot of questioning on the part of Christians in regards to their voting patterns. Do I like abortions? No. Do I think it is killing a child? Yes. Do I wish that no woman was ever put in a position to consider abortion? Yes. Do I believe that the abortion industry is dominated by men and continues to contribute to the 'glass ceiling' and the feminization of poverty? Yes. Do I think Christians should vote for a person or party based on one issue? ABSOLUTELY NOT! It's illogical, unreasonable and useless.

What do I think is of equal importance to unborn children? Women, children and men who suffer daily in our own country. You have poor people, disabled people, lonely people, imprisoned people, abused people, hungry people and disadvantaged people throughout your community. It makes a whole lot more sense to vote for the candidates who will seek to assisted those in need than just think that ending abortion (which NO party in Canada will do) will solve these problems. It won't. It can't. It's too widespread. Here's an alternative strategy though... Women with adequate financial resources and social supports may not pursue abortion as a solution to an unplanned pregnancy. What about that? Or would you rather have women mired in poverty, struggling to survive and killing themselves and their children because we're so selfish? I know where I stand.

Couple of Bible passages that I think speak to this issue directly. First off, my favourite section of Scripture, Matthew 25:31-46 (New Living Translation). Here, Jesus says:

31 "But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. 34 Then the King will say to those on the right, `Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.'

37 "Then these righteous ones will reply, `Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?' 40 And the King will tell them, `I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'

41 "Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, `Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his demons! 42 For I was hungry, and you didn't feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn't give me anything to drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn't invite me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me no clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn't visit me.'

44 "Then they will reply, `Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?' 45 And he will answer, `I assure you, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.' 46 And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life."

Abortion, anyone? The rights of gays and lesbians to engage in civil life like anyone else? Nope, not a single mention. You can read the same passage from The Message translation HERE.

The next verse is from Jesus' brother, James. He wrote, in James 1:27 (NLT):

27 Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us.

A relationship with Jesus inherently involves no rituals, routines or regulations. It's knowing Jesus. Religion is mechanizing a relationship, doing things and making rules about how you act when you're trying to follow Jesus. The two are very far apart. Now, don't get me wrong, acting a certain way will necessarily flow out of a relationship. Since I love Melanie, I will act in loving ways toward her, seek to make her a priority above my own desires. Knowing Jesus and engaging in a relationship with Him is what is of primary importance to God. However, if you are going to do things (i.e., religion) for God, James lays out what matters to God - taking care of people. That's pretty simple but we need a lot of work to change our priorities. Jesus charged 'us', His people, to do that. We don't a shitty job of it, though. If you're going to vote for change, how about changing the current social structures that keep people in poverty? Christians get flack when it comes to politics because, I believe, they have screwed up priorities. And we become 'them' and the non-Christians become 'us' because they (this is becoming confusing again, isn't it?) worry that we'll do all sorts of things they disagree with because we believe we have moral superiority and the key to all knowledge and decisions. We aren't taken seriously and are ignored or belittled or disrespected because we do the same thing to everyone else who isn't in the 'us' category. Stop it. Now.

Another thought that the teaching pastor at my church shared which really resonated with me fits in with this discussion (or, as it is a blog, a monologue). Christians need to stop trying to use politicians (and other methods) to force non-Christians to act more like Christians. Jesus' followers should focus on making more Christians act like Jesus. Makes sense, doesn't it?

And here enters another challenge for me... An old friend from high school (hi Serina!) was on MSN Messenger the other day and had her MSN name say something to the effect of, 'Great, another man to take away a woman's right to choose and ban gays from marrying!' I haven't talked to her in way too long but felt I should let her know that the Conservative party (which, let me be clear, I do not support) no longer opposes abortion and is not making it a platform issue. She responded with skepticism and questioned whether or not the Conservative party would revive the old debate.

I felt trapped. On one hand, I have my brothers and sisters who vote ignorantly based on poor or a lack of information (i.e., Conservatives oppose abortion). On the other hand, I have my brothers and sisters fighting the Conservatives because they still believe the party will oppose abortion. Neither one believes it is a non-issue at this point so there can be no movement by either side. The Conservatives can go so far as to say it's not something they will look at again but then they are told they are lying and they will go back on their word. I suppose it is possible. But what point does that serve? I'm trying to move the political discussion forward and both sides are refusing to budge. I suppose a similar argument can be laid at the feet of all non-Conservatives. Let it go. Don't vote for a candidate or party based on one issue (i.e., abortion). There are hungry, cold, naked, poor people in the community with a myriad of needs that we can try to meet. Instead, you hold back the debate yourself with clinging to stereotypes. I think my opinion is pretty clear on this so I won't beat anyone over the head any longer. Let's move forward. If neither side will bring down their guard, be sure that the fighting will continue endlessly.

How's that for a long and winding post? Egads. I hope it was interesting and thought-provoking on some level. Ideas? Leave me a comment. I'm always excited to read that someone has checked this stupid thing. Melanie has banned me from the kitchen for the time being because she's making me something delicious as a surprise dinner. Two of my favourite things - surprises and dinner - brought together in one scrumptious event! I hope you're all ready for the weekend and get to enjoy some time off. Too bad for Taxman, he's worked every day of this month (yes, Saturdays and Sundays too). Damn you, Dofasco!

It's only one week until Andria and Mike get married. That's going to be a fun time. They are two of the bestest people I know. Mike laughs at my stupid comments and can be as sarcastic and witty as the best of them (oh, he's nice too) and Andria puts up with him. Awesome!

I'll leave you with some links to dig into if you've got any interest left in my brain. You probably know I love Dog The Bounty Hunter. Here's a cool interview he did with HM Magazine. For some visual entertainment, check out this quickly compiled short film, Catch Me Sleeping, by a Blondel's neighbour named Aaron. The Third Space site says that Todd posted it on his site too. If you look at the links page on the Third Space site, the picture includes me. That's my shoulder you're looking over, buddy. And it's the worst links page ever, containing no links. Get on it, Blonsi! PEACE!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Oh sweet, sweet BBQ...

My friend Rod goes down to Birmingham, Alabama a lot for business. He, like me, loves BBQ. For those of you unfamiliar to BBQ culture, that's how you refer to any food cooked on a barbecue. You don't refer to 'barbecued chicken' or whatever. You just say 'barbecue' and that encompasses all the possible foods. Mmmmmm... Anyhow, Rod is heading down south this week and he said he would try to bring back a menu from a place called Jimmy Nick's (a brief search of the Web did not unveil a link I could give you - but there was a restaurant called Jim 'N' Nick's, which I think is what Rod meant)that he eats at sometimes when he is in town. This is his response to my brilliant burn when I gave him a menu from Dipamo's in Toronto after Melanie and I ate there. I gave him the menu at church (and I wore my Phil's Original BBQ shirt to rub it in further - I'm a jerk) and I don't think he even paid attention to the sermon. He kept reading the menu, salivating and dreaming of delicious BBQ.

What's my point? That's the backstory. Granted, none of you would likely care if I didn't provide that. Anyhow, Rod asked me if I had ever eaten a Milo's hamburger. I had never even heard of Milo's so I went searching. I found the site. I also found this link. That's just weird. And funny. Get bent.

Oh yeah, I'm rocking a full-on beard now, for those who haven't seen me lately. Melanie hasn't forced me to shave it, I've got plenty of compliments on it and NOT shaving is one of the best experiences of my life. Like Graham Nash sings, 'I am a simple man'. Ok, think of all the witty, sarcastic comments you can now and post them in the comments.

Friday, January 20, 2006

War! What is it good for?

I stole this. Ok, borrowed. I give the NY Times credit at the bottom (you can go to the site and print off a copy if you like). I found this article through Christianity Today. On the CT site, a writer was criticizing this article. I didn't agree with some of the criticisms. I'll let you read both, if you so choose.

January 20, 2006
Op-Ed Contributor

Wayward Christian Soldiers

Charlottesville, Va.

IN the past several years, American evangelicals, and I am one of them, have amassed greater political power than at any time in our history. But at what cost to our witness and the integrity of our message?

Recently, I took a few days to reread the war sermons delivered by influential evangelical ministers during the lead up to the Iraq war. That period, from the fall of 2002 through the spring of 2003, is not one I will remember fondly. Many of the most respected voices in American evangelical circles blessed the president's war plans, even when doing so required them to recast Christian doctrine.

Charles Stanley, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta, whose weekly sermons are seen by millions of television viewers, led the charge with particular fervor. "We should offer to serve the war effort in any way possible," said Mr. Stanley, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention. "God battles with people who oppose him, who fight against him and his followers." In an article carried by the convention's Baptist Press news service, a missionary wrote that "American foreign policy and military might have opened an opportunity for the Gospel in the land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."

As if working from a slate of evangelical talking points, both Franklin Graham, the evangelist and son of Billy Graham, and Marvin Olasky, the editor of the conservative World magazine and a former advisor to President Bush on faith-based policy, echoed these sentiments, claiming that the American invasion of Iraq would create exciting new prospects for proselytizing Muslims. Tim LaHaye, the co-author of the hugely popular "Left Behind" series, spoke of Iraq as "a focal point of end-time events," whose special role in the earth's final days will become clear after invasion, conquest and reconstruction. For his part, Jerry Falwell boasted that "God is pro-war" in the title of an essay he wrote in 2004.

The war sermons rallied the evangelical congregations behind the invasion of Iraq. An astonishing 87 percent of all white evangelical Christians in the United States supported the president's decision in April 2003. Recent polls indicate that 68 percent of white evangelicals continue to support the war. But what surprised me, looking at these sermons nearly three years later, was how little attention they paid to actual Christian moral doctrine. Some tried to square the American invasion with Christian "just war" theory, but such efforts could never quite reckon with the criterion that force must only be used as a last resort. As a result, many ministers dismissed the theory as no longer relevant.

Some preachers tried to link Saddam Hussein with wicked King Nebuchadnezzar of Biblical fame, but these arguments depended on esoteric interpretations of the Old Testament book of II Kings and could not easily be reduced to the kinds of catchy phrases that are projected onto video screens in vast evangelical churches. The single common theme among the war sermons appeared to be this: our president is a real brother in Christ, and because he has discerned that God's will is for our nation to be at war against Iraq, we shall gloriously comply.

Such sentiments are a far cry from those expressed in the Lausanne Covenant of 1974. More than 2,300 evangelical leaders from 150 countries signed that statement, the most significant milestone in the movement's history. Convened by Billy Graham and led by John Stott, the revered Anglican evangelical priest and writer, the signatories affirmed the global character of the church of Jesus Christ and the belief that "the church is the community of God's people rather than an institution, and must not be identified with any particular culture, social or political system, or human ideology."

On this page, David Brooks correctly noted that if evangelicals elected a pope, it would most likely be Mr. Stott, who is the author of more than 40 books on evangelical theology and Christian devotion. Unlike the Pope John Paul II, who said that invading Iraq would violate Catholic moral teaching and threaten "the fate of humanity," or even Pope Benedict XVI, who has said there were "not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq," Mr. Stott did not speak publicly on the war. But in a recent interview, he shared with me his abiding concerns.

"Privately, in the days preceding the invasion, I had hoped that no action would be taken without United Nations authorization," he told me. "I believed then and now that the American and British governments erred in proceeding without United Nations approval." Reverend Stott referred me to "War and Rumors of War," a chapter from his 1999 book, "New Issues Facing Christians Today," as the best account of his position. In that essay he wrote that the Christian community's primary mission must be "to hunger for righteousness, to pursue peace, to forbear revenge, to love enemies, in other words, to be marked by the cross."

What will it take for evangelicals in the United States to recognize our mistaken loyalty? We have increasingly isolated ourselves from the shared faith of the global Church, and there is no denying that our Faustian bargain for access and power has undermined the credibility of our moral and evangelistic witness in the world. The Hebrew prophets might call us to repentance, but repentance is a tough demand for a people utterly convinced of their righteousness.

Charles Marsh, a professor of religion at the University of Virginia, is the author of "The Beloved Community: How Faith Shapes Social Justice, from the Civil Rights Movement to Today."


Friday, January 13, 2006

I don't remember that in the Bible story

Lot did some pretty crummy things that were recorded in the Bible. Getting drunk and being seduced by his own daughters? Nasty. However, this guy suggests something else went on as well. The discussion of 'pitching tents' near Sodom is funny in and of itself. However, add in a slip of the tongue and it gets even better. Watch yourself, Blondel. Hahaha. Thanks to Justin for the link.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I could deal with retirement right now

This is a guilt post. Breukelaar continues to post regularly. Conley often gives me something to laugh about. Nagy throws on a little observation now and then. Even Bill got back into the swing of things. I've been off work for the past two weeks. What's my excuse? I'm pretty damn lazy. Here's your update, fools.

I must tell you, I've discovered The Grateful Dead. It was after watching the final episode of Freaks & Geeks in which Lindsay ditches her summer at a college and heads out with Kim and two hippies to follow the Dead. Jon and I watched it while he was home. The hippies turn Lindsay on to the album, American Beauty. I downloaded it because Jon and I agreed we had to check it out. It was good. Really good. So good that I bought a three album set that included the Dead's first live album, Live/Dead, from before their sound shift (to include more roots/blue/country stuff) as well as Workingman's Dead, which immediately preceded American Beauty. Anyhow, I've got Workingman's Dead playing while I type. It's great. I'm no Deadhead but I appreciate them now.

I've been looking for classic albums lately for some reason. Melanie gave me three Van Morrison albums for Christmas (the same type of set of the Dead that I purchased), including Astral Weeks, Moondance and His Band And The Street Choir. I've had Van Morrison's music around me since I was little because my dad was a big fan. I liked some of his songs back in the day but fell in love with the album Moondance while driving from Winnipeg to Calgary with Mike to visit Jon. Even though I was with Mike and not Melanie, I realized it was the perfect make-out album. It's just got this super hot vibe to it. You need to check it out.

What else have I been doing while not working? Last week was a total write-off. So bad that I actually feel bad about it and regret doing so little. Melanie worked almost every day so I was left to myself for the whole week. It sucked. This week has been much better because she's been off work too. We started packing a little (very little). I packed up my books - eleven boxes of them. They're not huge boxes but that still makes for a lot of books. We move in five weeks, I think. Nuts. I'm really looking forward to getting it over with because I don't like this anticipation of transition. We're moving but we've not yet moved but we have to prepare to move.

We went out of the house yesterday. First stop? Smitty's! We love eating breakfast foods no matter what time of the day. It was delicious. And, Mike, no diarrhea! Jon's such a liar. Hahahaha. After that, we went to the Art Gallery of Hamilton where they had some really great exhibits. I don't pretend to be some fancy pants art critic. If it looks good or interesting, I like it. I know nothing about painting except that I don't know how to do that. There were some really incredible paintings in an exhibit called Heaven & Earth Unveiled that featured paintings and sculptures from 19th century European artists (predominantly French)loaned by some really rich people. A few of the paintings looked like photographs. Fascinating stuff. There was also an exhibit featuring paintings by William Blair Bruce, a native Hamiltonian. Who knew that anyone good ever came out of that dirty city? Oh, right, Melanie lived there her whole life. Hahaha. There were also paintings by some guy who lived in the area where we cottage in the summer. He had paintings of the shopkeeper who kept the main store in Combermere as well as the first reeve in Barry's Bay (the exact place we go!).

Have I ever posted pictures from Barry's Bay? I don't think I have. Here's some to make you jealous. We stay at an old cottage (no running water and we use an outhouse) for only $200 a week. That's right, $200. Check it.

This is the view out of our window. Forest surrounds us as does water. Creation is a pretty killer place.

This is Laurie a few years ago at one of my favourite places in the world. In the cottage at Barry's Bay on the single bed beside the window. Last year, I spent several hours conked out in a senseless slumber after reading. I cannot sleep during the day when I'm at home. When I'm at the cottage and on that bed? Good luck keeping me conscious. It's got an amazing breeze blowing through the cottage as well as an amazing view of the lake and sky.

This the little crop of land that houses the five cottages. It's all available for our enjoyment. The lake is the perfect size. It's been pretty quiet the last couple years too (not too many boats and no jet-skis). I'm so glad that the new world will be the redeemed current world. Not much needs to change in Barry's Bay.

Boats at our disposal. There are four lakes connected where we stay. There is Carson Lake but we never go there. There's a small creek that runs into the second lake (we don't actually know the names, we refer to them by number), which is deep and weedy. The creek is super nice - sandy and warm - most of the time. Then you can go through a large sewer tube (no sewage inside, don't worry - just spiders) into the third lake. There's often a beaver dam at the entrance to the third lake. This lake used to be really sandy but there's been a noticeable growth of vegetation in it. Still nice to visit every year at least once. I caught the biggest fish of my life (a two pound largemouth bass) with my dad there when I was a kid.

Can you really go wrong with sunsets like this every day? The correct answer is 'no'.

Here's a shot that includes the owners of the cottage, Mr. & Mrs. Macdonald. We all went out for brunch at this awesome restaurant in town on a Sunday last summer and got this picture snapped. For those who have never seen my family, that's my dad and his wife, Laura. My sister and her husband, Al, are there too. I'm pretty sure I hadn't showered in two days at this point, hence the uncontrolled hair. It got better when I didn't shower for the next couple days. Hahaha.

There you have it. My favourite place in the world. I'm just finishing listening to Denison's album, Recovered. It's a great collection of covers that he gives his own spin. The dude could belch Abba covers and I'd likely buy it. But he gives these songs new life and turns me on to some new old artists (e.g. James Taylor, Jackson Browne). Dig in.

I don't think I ever posted regarding the marital union of our friends, Bill & Ronee! They finally tied the knot in Nashville, their new homebase, in December. We are thrilled for them. Two wonderful people with hearts of gold, beautiful senses of humour and knowledge of a sailor's vocabulary. Hahaha. May you continue to grow in love and admiration for each other and may God bless you throughout your lives. Amen! Oh, and stay in Nashville long enough for us to visit.

Ok, it's now 12:30 AM and Melanie's been asleep for an hour and a half. We're going to the Ontario Science Centre tomorrow to check out the Body Worlds exhibit. Looks fascinating. And, yes, those are REAL human bodies. You can donate your body to the exhibit if you're interested. I kid you not. After checking out the preserved human anatomy, we'll hopefully grab some delicious barbecue too. Nothing says Southern U.S. cuisine (i.e., barbecued meat) like checking out human bodies. Am I right, people?!? Dipamo's is fabulous.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I re-engage with the common folk by returning to work on Monday. I loathe Monday. Hahaha. Stay in touch. PEACE!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

How is this legal?

A brief observation that will (or, at least, should) make your blood boil. While adding up my gas receipts for 2005, I noticed something that made me angry. Yesterday, January 4th, 2006, I filled up on gas at 97.9 cents a litre. That's insane. I have a receipt from purchasing gas on January 2nd, 2005 and I paid 67.9 cents a litre. I kid you not. That's thirty cents a litre and almost a fifty percent increase. Are you kidding me?!? How can something like that even happen, legally-speaking? No other commodities change prices within the day like fuel does and none are so unrelated to current costs of production. If gas was 50 cents a litre five-to-ten years ago, the efficiency of producing gas has increased for less cost. And yet we're paying insane prices. Thank the Lord I'm a pacifist (for the most part) otherwise I might be in jail for bombing the oil companies.

Yes, I'm on vacation (you're all screaming, 'AGAIN?!?!'). Yes, again. It's been a good week so far, capped off tonight by the Canadian junior team winning the gold medal. Excellent game until the third period (when both teams didn't seem that interested). Pierre McGuire is a fool and the worst sportscaster I have ever heard.

As Bon Jovi encouraged us, have a nice day.