Nighttime Cycling Safety

It was in my stocking this morning (we still do stockings): a can of Volvo Life Paint. My wife mentioned it to me in the summer but didn't share this video, and the idea of spray-on reflective paint like this was so out there that it clearly didn't stick. And then this morning there was this can in my stocking. So I looked it up and saw this video (I'm on my phone, so I can't do a proper link: https://youtu.be/CfWzeGlaFvI) and said a big, "Oh!"

I'll post a reply to this when I've had a go with it (the rain may wash it away) but it was just too impressive not to share right now given the potential to spare someone else a serious injury.

Merry (and Safe!) Christmas!


I was a stranger...

(If you make no claim to be a Jesus Follower, feel free to ignore what follows)

This weekend I heard something that drove me crazy. Friends of ours were in Central Asia in the 90s doing Community Development. Friends of theirs are in a Scandinavian country working with a Christian Organization that does "religious" things as well as "relief" things, oriented toward mobilizing younger folks sort of for "gap year" kinds of things. And they attract significant numbers of youth from North America.

Like most of their country, they are welcoming Middle Eastern refugees, to the point that there's a national shortage of lightly used mattresses to provide to the new arrivals. They're doing this in a way that's fully integrated with everything else that they're doing. Someone pointed out that there were very different views of refugees on this side of the Atlantic, so they felt the need to inform the kids' parents what they were doing to placate fears, which they did.

On reading this, something inside me snapped. This need for placation gets our continent a huge "Come on, man!" award.

I'm done with being "nice" about this. You who claim to follow Jesus, as I claim, consider this: Referring to the N.T. story of the Sheep and the Goats in Matthew, to whom, to the sheep or the goats, would Jesus have said:

"I was a stranger and you locked me out of your country because you were afraid I was a terrorist or a Shari`a zealot."

Come on, man...


Canada Election 2015 - Thoughts #4

Never mind Joe Clark! The buzz on the news was of prominent NDPers who were okay with losing seats given the overall Conservative loss.

Canada Election 2015 - Thoughts #3

​ struggled with voting strategically and nearly went for it. In the end, I voted with my heart -- and it turns out that if I had tried to vote "strategically" as I understood it, it would have been at cross purposes with what happened in the riding anyways.​

Canada Election 2015 - Thoughts #2

​ow do I feel about the election? Relieved, but not content. 35% popular vote shouldn't get you 60% of the seats. Ever.​


Canada Election 2015 - Thoughts #1

Never did Joe Clark look so relieved that a Canadian Conservative government lost an election.


Justin Trudeau "vs." his father

I'm watching Peter Mansbridge's interviews with the political leaders and I was impressed with something Justin Trudeau did after the 13 minute mark in his interview. He found a way to oppose the current results of what his father did in concentrating power in the Prime Minister's Office without throwing his dad under the bus. Positive. Re-assuring. He still supports parts of C-51 and that and C-24 are the deal-killers for me.


This isn't Karl Marx' Capital

​I just finished reading Thomas Piketty's Capital for the 21st Century and have been recommending it highly to all my acquaintances. It's not short (600 pages) but don't let that stop you. The subject is not light (economics) but don't let that scare you. It was written in French but the English translation is smooth, comprehensible, enjoyable so no need to balk there. The math is simple (two equations: β = s / g; α = r * 
 the graphs are there to provide silhouettes not narrow percentage points of difference
​ and he keeps on quoting Balzac and Austen, and even the Aristocats.
 And then I came across this quote from M. Piketty in

There is a lot of ideology in the economic profession. I think that many economists have a view of markets which is not only idealistic and naive, but they are defending the views that markets are working efficiently. For ideological reasons, economists spend a lot of time doing complicated mathematical models, trying to pretend that markets are efficient - they do that also to try to impress others in other disciplines to look more scientific. I'm not sure this is working but this is certainly part of their strategy. I think we should be very modest. I view myself more as a social scientist than as an economist. I think the frontiers between economics, history, sociology, are not as clear as what economists try to pretend. Economists try to pretend sometimes that they have developed a science so sophisticated that the rest of the world cannot understand. I think this is a joke.

​If that doesn't encourage you that he thinks like ordinary people, I don't know what will.


We are all refugees

67 years ago, my Mom, her folks and all but her oldest sister (who had reached the age of majority--but that's another story) came to BC by train after a sea voyage from Europe as refugees, sponsored by a cousin who came here 20 years earlier.

How many Canadians reading this have similar stories in their family background?

She spoke German, so her family was looked on after World War 2 with some suspicion (as anyone from the Middle East is now) but she grew, became a citizen, married, had three kids and continues here to this day. But if refugee laws had been then what they are now, her family would have been kept out in the name of "stream-lining" the process.

About that little Syrian boy who's picture has gone viral? We, Canadians have his blood on our hands. His aunt lives in my home town, Coquitlam, and tried to sponsor his family but failed because the "stream-lining" involved making the door so hard to open that another family like my Mom's, fleeing from their war-torn home didn't get here intact--may still not get here, even what's left of them.

And that's wrong. Their blood is on our hands, and especially on the hands of this Conservative government who have done what we ought not to have let them do in locking our doors to our neediest neighbours (yes, I know they're 10 time zones away).

Let me resort to parliamentary language: Shame, folks. Shame! Shame on us all.


Are your parents immigrants? Do they know about C-24 and C-51

This Canadian election cycle I did something I've never done before. I canvassed my parents not to vote Conservative.

I come from an immigrant community and their MP is from that community, so aside from a lifelong likelihood of voting Conservative one more time, there is every likelihood that they'll do so again. Only this time, it's blatantly opposed to their own interests and I had to try to get that through their heads.

Worse, it affects all their relatives and friends -- and they'll probably all vote Conservative, too.

I know you're supposed to keep "Religion and Politics" out of family conversations but if there were ever an exception that proves the rule, this may be such a time. If you, or your parents, or your grandparents are immigrants, make sure they understand the potential downside, not just for them, but for all their descendants, if anyone who doesn't promise to repeal those two bills is elected Prime Minister this fall.


Trudeau is not an option

He voted for Bill C-51. Nothing more needs to be said.

The "good" parts of that bill aren't good enough to balance off all the "bad"
parts of the bill. And in the presence of C-24, it's even worse.

Folks, my citizenship is in danger and maybe yours is, too -- although born in
Canada, my Mother was born elsewhere, so even I, if someone for political
reasons decided I was a terrorist, could be stripped of my citizenship and
deported to the country of her birth. That is a country whose language my
mother didn't even speak in the first two years she lived there (in a minority
community there). And that is a language for which I can do little more than
recite the alphabet, count and say hello in -- and even that much is
considered odd by my friends.

The Liberals are not an option. They supported C-51 and want to do no more
than tinker with it. It needs repeal, full and complete. And C-24 needs to be
recognized for the unconstitutional pandering and hate-mongering that it

Even the NDP aren't a very good option. Go back and re-listen to that first
leaders' debate and vote for the party whose leader sounded the most sensible,
the least wooden, the least frenetic for the whole debate.


Defund the PMO

It was an issue four years ago. It's an even bigger issue today.

De - fund - the P. M. O.
Crowds of cronies have to go.
sock-puppet ministers,
senator puppets,
committee chairs
with the influence of muppets:

All these scourges must come to an end.
The PMO-shrinker is the voter's true friend.


Conservatives using push-polls

This week, I got a telephone call from someone claiming to be from NRG -- Nordic Research Group? Before it was done I called out the pollster as running a push poll. Ultimately, it tied into the Conservative attack ad against Justin Trudeau, that "he's just not ready" to be Prime Minister.

My views on that subject are noted here.

Let me denounce this practice in the strongest possible terms: Push-polling is something Richard Nixon started and is common enough in the US. We don't need it here. Oppose this practice strongly when it comes calling to your phone.

Why am I so sure that this poll was put by the Conservatives? After I called out the pollster that this was a push-poll, I said there was one message that I wanted to send to Mr. Harper. Although there wasn't a place on the poll for that, he fell silent and listened carefully. (it was around the last sentence of paragraph 4 in this post of mine)

So I don't "know" but I'd be willing to bet dollars for doughnuts on it.


Stephen Harper -- He's just not ready

His party keeps repeating it about one of his opponents but despite holding
the office for the last 9 years, he's still just not ready. Not to be a leader
of a parliamentary democracy. He's ready to be a dictator. He's ready to be a
manipulator. He's ready to lead a bunch of toads around.

But he's just not ready -- and never has been -- to be our Prime Minister.


Stephen Harper - A career politician we can't afford

Every time I see a Conservative attack ad, it reminds me of the leader of the Conservative party. Can we inundate the search engines to turn this kind of ad back on its source?


Coquitlam--Port Coquitlam candidate update

So it's official. Our cipher-like MLA, Douglas Horne, is now running to be our cipher-like Conservative MP. Yes, BC Liberals are best described as "web-footed conservatives" as Social Credit used to be labeled by Alan Fotheringham.


new "top" utility's "up-up down-down..." sequence

If you don't understand the title, this note isn't for you.

If you use Linux and are nauseated by the defaults of the "entirely new and enhanced replacement" of a really great utility on Linux, these steps are for you, thanks to the ArchLinux BBS:

rm ~/.toprc
Inside the top program, press: zV1ymmtttWq

From then on you may invoke top and see the screen you expected before the ghastly upgrade, that should probably have been called top-ng. I decline to say more so as not to start another flame war.


Stephen Harper -- a fitting paean

As moral as a monsignior,
Fair-handed as a Koch.

Haiku #35 - Christy Clark

After she won her second election...

She said, "Wear Pink Shirts!
End bullying now!" and then
bullied all BC.