The Patron Saint of Alberta

It will come as no surprise to Canadians that St. Albert is the patron saint of the province of Alberta. And today, March 28, is his official yet unofficial day of celebration.

Some of you may know the story, about how he and his many assistants both historical and living now drove the rats out of Alberta. Some poopoo this accomplishment, saying that the harsh winters are the primary drivers of this novelty. True. But with continued immigration and the gall of the gods to have made Alberta totally landlocked, it becomes necessary to help police this circumstance. So today, rats continue to be driven out of Alberta by the government.

Some say St. Albert anticipated this circumstance and passed on what he knew about government to the citizens of Alberta. It is said that he found all manner of politicians to be negative creatures. And some Albertan political parties have ‘con’ right in their name, like the Conservatives and Progressive Conservatives. St. Albert believed that having these parties in power created a powerful double negative, which is of course a positive, and thus Albertans overwhelmingly support their Conservative and Progressive Conservative governments.

Albertans have a special drink to honour their saint on this, his day. That drink is flammable water, which comes about in some processes of extracting petrochemicals from the earth. So whether that flammable water is laced with kerosene or gasoline or natural gas, Albertans like to light a glass and then down a pint in memory of St. Albert.

Celebrants of St. Albert’s day also like to wear at least one article of clothing that is the colour black. This of course honours the province of Alberta which is known for its oil and its burnt or over barbecued beef.

Some Albertans will deny all of this which I have told you. These Albertans are known to have kissed the Baloney Stone also known as the Sham Rock. These Albertans in particular are quite intent on spreading their lies. But those of us in the know will have none of it. St. Albert will have his day and that is today.

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Very Undercover

I think half the reason for the hippy movement’s success in the late ’60s and early ’70s was the fact that the police had a hard time infiltrating amongst long haired males. Eventually the police caught on and brought women on the force and the male undercover cops grew their hair long. But for awhile police had to rely on just informants for that movement.

Since being an undercover cop is a very dangerous job, I think these cops should do things one would never expect a cop to do. Not the old hat kill a man to fit in. That would be against the law. No I have other suggestions.

All undercover cops should drive a Rolls Royce. No one is expecting the police department to foot the bill for this one. Which is precisely why undercover cops should check this off on a list of must haves.

Undercover cops should all have a mansion in which they can throw wild parties and get potential informants liquored up. Who has their guard up when they are talking to the big white phone in the washroom? That’s where the best intel will come from – in between dry or wet heaves. It must happen in a mansion so there will be other washrooms for more informants and even more washrooms so people don’t have to tinkle on the lawn. This is police work but there is no reason to make it uncivilized.

And lastly the wiliest undercover cop will want a gold chain. Not the usual chain that hangs around a neck. We need a 3 foot chain the thickness and size of ones found in a pickup truck or a farm tractor. Something big enough to haul machinery but made of gold so it is uber cool and very expensive. Something heavy enough that it gives the strongest man a hunchback from just wearing it.

Now I know you’re saying to yourself, that’s all well and good but who the heck is going to pay for all this? Well that comes with the territory of being a cop.

Instead of [allegedly!] pulling over black people on the highway for spurious reasons, the cops can now pull over each and every Rolls Royce they see. The rich may suspect they have been profiled but the police will deny this while impounding the car. Once in control of the vehicle, the impounding might add a few thousand kilometres to the odometer.

Mansion owners usually travel frequently. Check the list of the best 100 restaurants in the world and it is there that I bet you will find the mansion owners. The rich like their memories as much as the poor so there will be cameras at times. While arresting these people on terrorism charges (Obviously! I said they had a camera!) the enterprising police officer can find out if they managed to jail all the inhabitants at the mansion address and send any minors to relatives who live in another mansion. The undercover beneficiaries will just have to clean up the mansion once the court finally demands the release of the mansion owners.

Then again if you are shocked by my suggestion of treating the rich in a very cavalier way, perhaps we should try a different tack. Over 3 000 Toronto cops make over $100 000 a year. So perhaps we can just get them to use their own car, house, and chain.

So there you have it. In the future, undercover officers will be the hunchbacks in the mansion with a Rolls Royce.

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It’s All Nerd Culture, Beeches!

I’m tempted to say the Guinness book of World Records or any compilations of “ests” (as opposed to “ers”) is almost completely filled by nerd culture. But then I remember all the accidents of birth like the Grand Canyon and tallest people in the world and realize that nerd culture isn’t responsible for all records.

Then I’m tempted to say that all categories that humanity has to strive for are nerd culture. But that, too, isn’t completely true when we take into account sports records. These days athletes have to strive almost as single mindedly as the nerd but let’s face it, they got to the top echelon of athletics largely by more accidents of birth. Faster reaction times, longer legs, etc., depending on the sport is an athlete’s prime attributes. All that training they do just refines their inborn characteristics. Most of us know this which is why we stopped competing at the end of junior high school or high school.

So nerd culture isn’t involved in all records or “ests”. But it is responsible for quite a few of them.

The fastest man alive is hardly ever seen near a track. No the fastest man alive went to the moon. Everyone knows that astronauts hold this record. And what is an astronaut? They are just risk taking nerds.

Ever wanted to blow stuff up? Yup nerds are responsible for the atomic bomb, and later the hydrogen bomb – the biggest explosions the earth has ever seen. And enough chemical explosives, also set off by nerds, can also produce a mushroom cloud. Nerds hold all the records for blowing things up.

Mountain climbers seem almost a little too proud of how high they’ve managed to climb. Although some nerds might be mountain climbers, they freely admit the highest a human has gotten is, again, to the moon.

I believe James Cameron went on the deepest dive on Earth. And that’s quite right, Mr. Cameron, I’m outing you as a nerd.

I could go on and on. Sometime it would be interesting to examine all world records and see how many we are only capable of due to nerds.

Although at the time of this writing I have gotten no feedback, I can almost hear the clamouring amongst nerd adverse athletes. “We’re not talking machines here. The fastest man alive is of course Usain Bolt, whine, whine, whine, etc.” Look the only thing humans are better at than the animal kingdom is in our brain/building power. So to me the record that counts is the one made by using anything we are capable of .

As for those nerd adverse athletes a couple shots have been fired across your bow already. Prosthetics and steroids are nerd developed things. And nowadays athletes have to pay attention to these. You might be able to wallow forever in your walled garden of strictly human sports records, but my money says that some day some entrepreneurs might ask, “Well what kind of records do steroids actually lead to?”

As bionics and bipedal robotics become more mature technologies, more and more people will ask “What records are now possible?” Maybe they’ll all have their own leagues. But people will compare between categories or leagues. So eventually I suspect we’ll find normal athletes will pay for their limbs to be taken off and replaced by better, stronger and faster bionics. But those bipedal robots will likely end up with most records anyway. So the determined athlete will get rid of all except their brain. All in order to compete at the highest level.

If it all comes down to the athlete’s brain – then I bet nerds will have a chance, too. So all those athletic records, those outside the pure human ghetto of normal athletics, might be dominated by nerds.

And just how long will it take before some enterprising nerd with lots of robot labourers,decides to build a bigger canyon than the Grand Canyon? Just saying. Nerds might eventually take over much more of the Guinness recognized records.

And I hope I didn’t make an ash of myself with the title.

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Third Eye

It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve been privy to the info that the red dot some Hindus wear on their foreheads is supposed to represent a third eye.

It’s not that I’ve never thought about the idea of having a third eye. It’s just that my thinking kind of goes like this. See below in the drawing of a herbivore and a predator/primate’s two eyed vision. Nature has come up with these two models of vision depending on what is most important to the creature possessing the pair of eyes.


Notice that the herbivore has wraparound vision. This is to ensure that it is never snuck up on by predators. Thus it always has a head start when the predator gives chase.

The predator/primate has stereoscopic vision. What’s so special about this? Well it gives depth perception to the possessor of such vision which is awfully important when a predator wants to know how close it has come to its prey and when to lunge at said prey for a possible deadly strike. Primates need the depth perception for accurate tree climbing so they can jump from branch to branch in the trees. And some of the bigger primates are predators, too.

So the reason I didn’t realize that the Hindu third eye is a third eye is because I feel that the perfect position for a third eye on a predator/primate’s head is an eye on the back of the head. This way the possessor of said eyes has wraparound vision as well as the important stereoscopic vision. Or the best of both worlds.

thirdeyeoptimizationOf course Hindus believe their third eye is more than a normal eye. They think the third eye gives a sort of spiritual sight. So perhaps its position at the front is important to help read faces.

But what if the third eye was on the back of the head? Having these three eyes, Hindus could eye each other spiritually. It’s just that they’d have to be back to back. That third eye position, to me, just sounds like winner.

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Kitchener-Waterloo, Now With Only One Season

There is a long standing Canadian joke that goes something like this. There are two seasons in Canada, winter and construction.

Things happen to a city when it gets big. It’s often said that the biggest cities never sleep. Well that seems far off for K-W, its full metro area has only 500 000 people. But it is beginning to build a light rail transit system and that seems to have pushed the city into one season. That season is construction.

Oh, we still have winter. We’re just finishing one of the coldest Februaries on record. But the ongoing construction for the light rail continued this month last month and indeed never stopped even when the snow started building up on the ground. And I think seeing the light rail workers never stopping inspired a city.

I know of at least two big roofing projects that carried on into this month. One occurred on a residential town house complex and one happened on a bowling alley. That’s right, roofers had to work all winter long so far. I can see that happening in previous years, where the roofer might put in a temporary patch that everyone hopes lasts until spring. But these two developments seemed to involve the complete or almost the complete job. I didn’t know roofers were so ambitious. Slips and falls are more likely with ice and snow and yet the workers braved those conditions.

Maybe I would have let all this construction lie but off of the future route of the LRT I noticed more outdoor construction at Bleams and Manitou. I don’t think this project is a broken water main (another acceptable outdoor construction activity in winter). Once again there is more outdoor construction this winter.

And lastly (although this seems to happen in any city that gets such projects), outdoor construction continues in the high rises that were partially built last summer and have continued unabated all winter.

So there you have it. Kitchener-Waterloo is now always under construction. It’s supposed to get busier in the spring when they shut down major amounts of King Street (the main street) for up to eighteen months. You heard me. That eighteen months means the same thing is going to happen over next winter.

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CEOs as DJs of the Business World

A “successful” CEO will try to limit her lowest level employees to less-than-inflation wage increases. After all these employees should have gotten better education and skills. It’s their fault that no one at the top speaks for them.

Then the math goes something like this. A CEO will have to make the tough decision of giving herself a million dollar raise for the year, or give her lowest employees a dollar an hour wage increase. That’s $2000 a year for each of the lowest ranked employees. Big corporations will have a thousand or more hourly wage serfs. That means at least a 2 million dollar increase in expenditures for the company. Suddenly that million dollar increase for the CEO sounds cheap.

So the CEO will have saved the company a million dollars by giving herself that exorbitant raise yet not permitting a significant increase to the hourly wage serf. Now she can report how she made the difficult decision that saved the company at least a million dollars. Now she can put in to the board of directors that maybe she deserves a bonus as well.

Shenanigans like this are easy to do if you have the power. This is of course a simple mock up of the real situation. But I don’t think the real thing is too far off from this. Why else would corporations cry with such hurt and anger every time a minimum wage increase is upcoming?

So how do CEOs rationalize this behaviour to themselves? I think they like to compare themselves with DJs.

Rare is the club that has live bands anymore. Most of them have DJs these days. With today’s equipment, a DJ can make her music sound almost as good as a live band.

Let’s say a live band has four members. A DJ can make as much money as two of the musicians and still be seen as a bargain. The DJ is happy and so is the club. Maybe the club is like the shareholders.

This isn’t that good of an analogy because the musicians have joined the unemployment line. But let’s say the DJ and musicians have a normal job as well. Anything they make at the club is just an increase in their pay.

Like a DJ the CEO makes people dance.

But wait a second, musicians can make people dance and some clubs still hire musicians, too.

Well some businesses absolutely require skilled employees, even at the lowest rungs of their corporate hierarchy. These businesses would be the clubs that still hire musicians. And some companies are partly controlled by unions of their employees who can also make the people dance.

Don’t forget that CEOs think they know what’s best for their customers. So, too, DJs think they speak for all their audience. Neither does, so perhaps the analogy holds even further.

I know I wouldn’t mind a musician or four in more clubs. Perhaps, too, more corporations with an eye for what the lowest rungs of their hierarchy are doing and need, would be better. Maybe DJ/CEO culture has reached its highest popularity.

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Possible Names for NHL Canadian Expansion Teams

Most Canadians are aware that Gary Bettman, the NHL commisioner is mostly against expansion into new Canadian markets. But I think I have a way to entice him. All we have to do is come up with wonderful names for those expansion clubs.

Let’s start with Quebec City. This city once housed an NHL team and if Winnipeg is any guide, that gives this city an edge in getting an expansion team.

Sure they had the Nordiques but I say Quebec holds fertile ground for club naming. You see it is French speaking. Most will agree that the English speaking world has so many sports teams that it is nigh on impossible to find a new, tough animal to name English teams after. There are so many fewer professional teams in the French speaking world that I think they can come up with ones new to French. I say we call them the Seals. In French that would be Les Phoque. This rhymes with Hey Toque.

The province of Quebec simply does not have any other large cities besides Montreal and Quebec. So let’s continue our search for new club names in English Canada. Let’s start out east in the Maritimes’ largest market – Halifax.

If the English speaking world can’t have unique animal names, I say that we should name them after hockey specific words.

Now Maritimers enjoy a good alliteration, so the hockey word that jumps out at me is the penalty called hooking. Now someone who hooks is called a hooker. So I say we name the team the Halifax Hookers. Since a hockey stick is basically a long, bent shaft, hooking is one of the natural movements of the sport.

The Toronto market is so big it seems ripe for a second team. Now Torontonians will want a really central sounding name for their team. I think that city will name their team after something integral to hockey, like the puck. I think they will be known as the Puckers. There’s a possibility that their opponents might be pucked. But if they follow in the footsteps of the Maple Leafs, their team might be pucked when playoff time comes.

Rumours of Hamilton getting a team have been around for years. I imagine this team being big and bruising. As such I wouldn’t be surprised if they were named the Body Checkers. They would live up to their names and this is how I see it happening. Before each game, instead of drills, they would watch the arena fill up. As such, the team would be the ones to have the binoculars. But they are the Body Checkers and when you look at a full arena crowd, all you see are heads. So, they would refuse to start the game until the audience fills up the seats by standing on their heads. Women in skirts would dress knowing this pregame tradition. As such, no more skin would be seen on a skirt wearer than you can see in women’s figure skating.

My city, Kitchener, would get the Five Holes. When asked what this means for this team, only the goalie would speak up. “From my vantage I see five teammates. Just to ensure that I mostly see unmentinable holes, when my team returns from the other end, they usually skate backwards.” And that is the embarrassing story about Kitchener’s future team.

London is the other Ontario city that I think will soon be able to draw enough people to professional games. I see them naming their team after an important hockey term. They would be the Big Dekes. But wait a second, in hockey sometimes a little deke is just as good. Because Londoners, too, like their alliterations, I think their team will be known as the London Little Dekes.

And there we have it. Six names for possible Canadian hockey clubs. I think they are so enticing that even Gary Bettman will want to let Canada have a lucky thirteen teams.

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The English Springboard

English sounds like the ideal place to start when learning another language, especially a European language. This is because English steals words from other languages. Indeed this can be seen by the mere fact English has more words than many other languages. So if you live in relatively far away Russia, English has adapted a word or two in just recent times with glasnost and perestroika.

When learning a second language, common words between the languages are the easiest to decipher. Since English has so many of these springboards to other languages you would think many English speakers might learn a second language or two.

But it’s just the opposite. We anglophones sit in our ivory towers of English and demand that the rest of the world learn English. Because of this and other reasons, English has become a world language. It is, for example, the language of aviation.

I live in English speaking Canada. Although we have French as another official languge, the English speaker that bothers to learn that language well is rare. But the majority of French people in Canada have learned at least passable English. Of course we English-only Canadians are limiting ourselves. It is unlikely that a speaker of English-only would ever be able to become prime minister.

I think the fact that we know others will bother to learn English allows us to be lazy. We can pretend we are the centre of the world till along comes a book, movie or song from another language that is judged to be so good that even English speakers hear about its presence. But then do we try to meet this awesome art on its own terms? No, we wait for the translation, the overdub, the subtitles or the English cover.

I know some of you are thinking that the springboard works when learning English, too. Most of those foreign languages have a few words in common with English so the newcomer to English has a slightly easier job of learning the language.

I used to think that I’m saving my brain for more important things than language. That’s why English has become such a world language. We’ve saved our brains for other things and that’s why there is such a flowering of English in the arts, sciences and fine arts.

But an older me realizes that if no English speaker learns another language, than there will be many unbreakable ciphers that not any English speaker can break. Getting rid of books and information about learning other languages might be easy, and that would cement our ignorance.

I know you might think of this as being far fetched. Of course someone in the English speaking world will bother learning a second language. But what if those that bothered throw in with the non native speakers of English? Learning only English could be our downfall. They could speak right in front of us and we wouldn’t have a clue what they’re saying. Or they could speak directly in front of us and we would only be able to understand only those few words that are the same in English.

English only policies just aren’t wise in the long run.

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Football Creep

The Super Bowl is tomorrow so of course this post mentions something about that. But it will be later in the post. For now let’s discuss that other “football”. In another word, I mean soccer.

Major League Soccer is the premier league for soccer in North America. And at least 3 teams sport the moniker FC. What could that harmless FC in the name Toronto FC mean? Those innocuous letters stand for Football Club. And that is the football creep I am referring to in my title.

In North America the word football is reserved for either American football or Canadian football, both of which are very similar and use a two pointed ball. To me, the use of the term football club in soccer is the first salvo from an anti North American group.

Just what group is this? Looking at my own city’s semi professional soccer team’s name, we can discover something. They are the K-W United FC. Anyone who has any inkling about British soccer knows that they got the United from the team Manchester United in Britain.

So the usage of FC to represent soccer teams probably comes from Europe. As a patriotic North American, all I can say to them is stop the football creep and go back to your own continent.

But I believe that the Europeans posing as North Americans have another salvo at the ready. They are just looking around for another name for football so at long last soccer will be able to carry that title. They are looking around for anything easily identifiable with football and that is where the Super Bowl comes in. I think they are going to try calling football by the name “Superbowling”.

But so as not to cause confusion, especially amongst the other Bowls, like the Rose Bowl and others, I believe the name will get shortened to just bowling. Which is the name of another sport, once again. I think this will lead to an interesting progression.

With ten pin bowling, five pin bowling, lawn bowling, American bowling, and Canadian bowling, it will be obvious that most sports already have bowling in the title. Thus, all other sports will be referred to as bowling, too. Including soccer.

So those of you FC supporters that don’t go back to Europe, will lose as surely as the rest of us. So just let your football creep go, now, before all sports are harmed.

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Just How Mutated Were Cinderella’s Feet?

For the sake of argument, lets assume that Cinderella’s feet looked like those of a normal young woman. If that is the case, the only way her foot would be different than the other subjects of her country would be if they were extremely large or extremely small.

There is correlation between foot size and height. For her feet to be at either extreme, Cinderella would be either quite short or quite tall. Short or tall enough that she would look mismatched with a regular sized monarch. Short or tall enough that a huge search of the kingdom would be very short lived.

No, Cinderella must have had odd feet in another way.

Some of you are already thinking like me that corns, bunions, warts or pimples might have made her glass slipper unique in the kingdom. But most of these afflictions turn men away from the pursuit of the afflicted women. That is usually one of the reasons women try to rid themselves of these problems. There is, however, a possibility the prince had a fetish for one of these conditions. To avoid the question of why this is, we will simply ignore that possibility.

Perhaps she had an odd number of toes. That would make her feet unique. But in many superstitious olden times, an extra digit or three could lead to being burned alive.

Perhaps her stepsisters had cruelly cut off one of her toes. But that would likely lead to Cinderella seeking the king’s justice which would have likely led her to having already met the prince.

The only other way I can think of for Cinderella’s feet and the glass slipper to be oddly shaped was that she was in dire need of orthotics. Which would mean that the cruelty of her step sisters and step mother would have been magnified by having to perform hard labour with ill prepared feet.

Then when Cinderella was given the correcting, orthotic glass slipper, smiles must have come easy to her that night. At last, dancing would have been a breeze and something she suddenly greatly enjoyed. All of which helped bewitch the prince.

Yes, yes. Cinderella’s glass slippers must have been orthotics, specially made for just her feet.

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