Carbon Tax

A Carbon tax was announced by our dear leader yesterday in the House of Commons. He made this announcement at the same time as environmental leaders were discussing environmental issues and carbon pricing initiatives down the road in Quebec with Ms McKenna, Canada’s Minister of the Environment. Was this a planned pre-emptive strike? Don’t know but something sure is rotten in the state of Denmark!

I cringed when B.C. brought in a Carbon Tax and I am cringing still with Trudeau’s Carbon taxing plan. It just tells me that these people have no clue with respect to basic chemistry 

Carbon © is an essential element of the Periodic Table (#6). I like to think of it as nature’s table or nature’s chemistry. Carbon forms the key component for all known life on earth so to tax Carbon is to tax all humanity for being, well, human. 

If it is Carbon Dioxide (CO2) that our dear leaders are trying to control and capture then say so. CO2 is not C. But even CO2, which is comprised of one Carbon atom and two Oxygen Atoms, is an important compound element of nature’s chemistry table. It is found when we exhale, when we fart, shyte and just about everything else that we do. It is a byproduct for much of what occurs here on our planet, organically or mechanically. Carbon Dioxide is not an environmental polluting agent because it is not detrimental or poisonous to life (Biology Cabinet). Carbon dioxide cannot kill living cells by altering their structure or physiology in the same way, for example, as a snake venom will. It can only suffocate an organism when Oxygen is not present at a sufficient concentration to sustain life. 

The difference between carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide is one less oxygen atom in the molecule of carbon monoxide. This small difference renders carbon monoxide toxic and carbon dioxide vital. V..I..T..A..L! 

I would hazard to guess that many of our politicians and their bureaucratic advisers are missing an atom or two as well. They’re policies are surely toxic.  And you know where this is headed?

We are doomed!

From the Files

“Hey Jay, what’s a shakin today?”

“Well let’s see George. Quite a bit actually

From the weird and wonderful Climate Change file:

“California is going to ban cow flatulence George”

“What’s flatulence Jay?”

“Cow farts George. They are going to ban cow farts in California to save the planet!”

“No kidding. You’re ribbing me Jay!”

“I can’t make this stuff up George. Next they’ll ban people from taking more than one breath a minute in order to reduce CO2 emissions. When that occurs you’ll be seeing a whole lot of people walking around LA with puffed out cheeks – both above and below the waist! Holding their breaths and holding their asses. It’s insane George but I’m really happy about this because I won’t have to listen to these Moonbats anymore. Especially the pompous ones lecturing me on how to live as they accept their awards then fly off to their holiday retreats.”

“Wow, something sure stinks in the state of California Jay”

“That’s Denmark George. Something smells in the state of Denmark.”

“It does? They banned cow farts there too Jay?”

“But the Moonbats in California defend their actions by saying that people laughed at Noah too. With his ark George”

“Can you imagine the stink on that ark George? But then again the methane probably kept the water levels at bay by keeping that ark afloat and warm. And when the flooding was almost over somebody, Noah perhaps, lit a torch when he went down into the hold on that ark to see and hear and smell what the fuss, racket and stink was all about. Then, like the burning bush, KA-BOOM, that ark went up in an catechismic explosion.”

“Holy shit” Noah was heard to say, but in deference to his Lord, the supreme being.

“The Old Testament’s proverbial shit hit the fan-tail of that ark George.”

“Is that where the proverb Ship.High.In.Transit. comes from Jay? Noah’s ark?”

“Perhaps George but I don’t know for certain. Could be. But it’s probably why no one has found Noah’s ark today. The methane explosion ripped that ark into a gazillion pieces, spread all across the ancient world I would think.”

“Oh yeah, and forced childbirth is the single biggest cause of global warming. I kid you not George. Must be in the grunts and the groans and the flatulence from where those labour intensive green house gas emissions come from”

“Women are giving birth in a greenhouse these days Jay?”

“Arctic melting will cause severe flooding on the shores of Greenland George!”

“Eureka, George”

“You don’t smell all that well yourself Jay.”

No, no, no George. Eureka! Eureka. You know -as in Archimedes and his Principle, Eureka. That an object will displace its own weight in water. Arctic ice, it floats, but when it melts the water level in the Arctic Ocean remains the same.  But the Moonbats out there will not believe this law of physics and will state categorically and adamantly that Archimedes and his principle are coming to you from Big Oil.

“Oh and one more thing George. Global Warming will wipe out breakfast cereals by 2070”

“That’s okay cause I like my cereal cold anyway Jay, so I’m not worried.”

“That’s the least of your worries George”

“Man, we are doomed!”

From the Craziness File:

“Thief allegedly steals up to $179,000 in gold coins and gold pucks from the Canadian mint by stuffing them, or so the mint suggests, up his ass, then walking out. Probably got the idea and motivation from the Johnny Cash song “One Piece at a Time”

“Wow. And the mint claims that they have a suspect and that as far as they are concerned the puck stopped there! Holy anal retentiveness George. Holy shit! That guy’s got balls and one helleva rectum, if he is found guilty of course, which he hasn’t.”

“That’s one helluva job Jay, one helluva job bringing that in!”

From the Oxymoronic File:

“Safe Injection Sites are springing up everywhere across Canada George.”

“Ban flatulence in cows, and in humans too, as it really is Natural Gas, isn’t it Jay?!”

“You bet George”

“200 protesters recently protesting the latest LNG proposition in B.C. then hopping into their SUVs, pickup trucks and cars for the drive home.”

“Protesters protesting a proposed new cell tower in the local countryside all the while talking on their cell phones to get more protesters out to protest the new cell tower’s construction.”

_____________

“Bit of trivia George. How many falls are there in Klamath Falls Oregon?How many huh, huh?”

“Dunno Jay. How many?” One set of falls perhaps?”

“Nope, none George. There are no falls in Klamath Falls Oregon.”

Quote of the week

“Militancy is great – for pacifists”

 

“Until next time George”

Shakey Jay…..out

Words*

Sorry, I was away yesterday thus no post.

Words!  What is in a word?  My kingdom for a word!  A horse it may be but a horse is only a word that by any other name is still a word. Words declare wars, they garner peace. Words can be hurtful, they can be playful. Words describe words as in spiteful words, hurtful words, insightful words.  We can have a war of words, crosswords or them’s fightin words. Words can be theatrical:  we can have a play on words. Word is law.  It is the word. Words are prophetic. Words can be the gospel truth. So sayeth the word of the Lord. Words inspire, they transpire. Words transcribe: you have my word on that. Failing that, can I have a word with you? But words are not enough. That’s why we have lawyers. Words can also be despotic, or chaotic. A single word can inspire poetry, lyricism.

We can combine words to make quotable quotes: some profound, some sublime, some simplistic, some stupidly clear:

 “To be or not to be – that is the question.” That may be but on Jeopardy it is the answer!

 “If things are good in moderation then they must be great in excess.”  My favourite.

Yet words are not enough when communicating.  Context and understanding are crucial. Without context confusion arises to the point of ridiculousness.  Let me try to illustrate this by something that I learned in school:

Take the word “nit.” The Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines “nit” as a stupid person, a louse.  Then add the letter “k” before the “n” and you have “knit.” Yet the word “nit” from the word “knit” is a whole different kettle of fish.  And what is that anyway: a kettle of fish?

Now, let’s take the word “wit:” defined as someone with a sharp sense of humour, a player of words perhaps.  As in “that man possesses wit.  He has a sharp mind.” But then add the letter “t” before the “w” and you have “twit.”  Or, combine the word “nit” with the word “wit” and you have a “nitwit.” But “nit” and “twit” together does not sound quite right – “nit-twit?”

Nonetheless, given that a “nit” is already defined as a stupid person, and “wit” is someone who has a sharp mind, then “nitwit” defiles all logic in a descriptive sense except perhaps to define someone who possesses a stupid “wit” – which in itself is oxymoronic.  But “dimwit” already has that locked up.  Yet what is really frustrating about the undercurrent of this word is that “dimwit” is the opposite of someone who has a sharp “wit.”   So, that being the case, let’s call him or her a “blunt-sharp” person!

To make matters worse a “twit” could be someone who has a sharp “wit,” and is still a “nitwit” or a “dimwit.”  So why can’t we call him or her a nit-twit?  Or a “dim-twit”?  The bottom line is that “nitwit” or “dimwit” sounds better.  The other bottom line is that English words are just downright confusing without context and a shared understanding of the contextual environment we are communicating in.

Words can mean different things to many different people.  It is how we shape them, construct them, and construe them that are key to our success in using them.  Timing may be one thing but context is everything. Take my word for it.  You’ll be surprised at how much fun words can be.  You’ll be truly amazed at your wordiness.

 Oh yeah, and I remember my Italian uncle declaring to his Italian spouse: Hey Flora. Let’s go to the big city and have some fauna – hey? Groan

 You have my word on it.

 * Excerpt from my book: “I Thought I’d Died and Gone to Heaven” $9.95, includes shipping and handling

Shakey Jay

“Hey Jay? What’s shakin today eh? Hey, I’m a poet.

 “Yes you are George, yes you are”

“So Jay, before we even get started with all the craziness out there I would like to know one thing. How’d you get that handle, Shakey Jay anyway?”

“Well you see George, my hands shake. And my left hand really shakes. Much worse than the right. So most of my friends and not so friends call me Shakey. But I don’t mind. You see, whenever I had to perform in front of a crowd or give a presentation or a speech, the audience would equate my shakin hands to nervousness.  Yet I am no more nervous than any one else.  If one is anxious before public speaking, well so am I.  If one’s hands sweat, well so do mine. If one has butterflies in their gut well so do I only mine are bigger. But, on top of all of that I have an additional affliction. No, affliction is not the right word here. A physical trait is more like it. It is something that is called a Benign Familial Tremour. I have had it all my life. Benign because it doesn’t grow as an affliction; Familial as it is hereditary, normally on the male side of a family, and Tremour for obvious reasons. It is now called an Essential Tremour although I really see nothing essential about it.”

“Sorry to interrupt Jay but again, who is one?”

 “Let me share a very short but personal journey with you George.”

 “I first noticed that something might be amiss with my hands when I was about 6 years old. On those summer days: hot, humid and sweaty, with a parched thirst, I would run to the fridge and to the consternation of all mothers out there, grab the chocolate milk carton with my sweaty, dirty palms, and bring my chapped, cracked, swollen dry lips to the spout and chug a lug to my hearts content. With my right hand there didn’t seem to be a problem. But when I grabbed it with my left hand, that carton would be a shakin all over. The contents of which were a shakin with me and a shakin all over me.  But that was okay you see because for every swill with my left hand I had a chocolate milk shake.”

 “It became apparent that the medical profession would not be in the cards for me. Indeed, dental surgery, neurosurgery was definitely out of the question. And you know what? I always wondered why on earth my parents never ever bought me a chemistry set as a kid.”

 “As I got older I had to be very careful with the kind of work I did. Summer jobs were quite plentiful but some, like waiting tables, were not in the cards. But there was one city construction job that was right up my alley…workin the jackhammer. This job masked my physical trait…. and everything else for that matter – and our crew was something else indeed. Man oh man I cannot begin to tell you or show you how a crew of jackhammer artistes act while taking a break…off the job. But one thing I learned very quickly. Never, ever buy hot coffee during stand easy. And hot soup was definitely a no-no during lunch.”

 “Nevertheless I moved on and was quite capable of living with my physical peculiarity. I joined the Navy at 23. During basic training there was one performance objective that really called for a steady hand… the small arms range. Needless to say I and my instructors were just a tad concerned.  But you know what? With the rifle I had absolutely no difficulty at all. That’s because the NATO Standard FN rifle was heavy and I, being a left handed shot, had no difficulties with it. I actually attained marksman status at 1000 meters.”

 “The sub machine gun was a blast as well. On single shot, I did have some difficulty and didn’t quite make the grade. But on staccato burst – man oh man – another story. The breech action on short burst was made for my affliction.  And on fire for effect – full throttle, well those instructors had never seen anything like it.  When my left handed finger action was engaged, nothing, and I mean nothing, was safe within a 25 yard radius I can tell you that. But there was one small arms weapon that was cause for concern: the 9mm pistol. Right handed, not too bad, both hands, I passed. But left handed? Not only did I hit my own target but I hit every other damn target down that firing line, without even trying. With my eyes closed for heaven sakes.  It was a beautiful sight I can tell you seeing all of those other cadets on the firing line fall in turn or in unison and in panic to the ground for cover in perfect military fashion. Notwithstanding, even though I failed in the 9mm and was up for a career review because of it, I was able to convince the instructors that being on a ship the only gun I would ever fire would be a 5in 54 single shot howitzer that weighed in about 20 tons. I told the staff that I didn’t think I could lift it with my left hand.  Needless to say common sense prevailed and I passed.”

 “As the years went on the condition began to bug me as it would externalized my nervousness. So I went to see a neurologist.”

 “Doc, what on earth can I do about this.”

 “Well, he said, what seems to calm it down.”

 “Well, says I, I do notice that when I have a few shooters the shakiness is less pronounced.”

 “Well try that” he said.

 “So, I did. It worked but not without its problems. You see, with a few shooters under the belt one gets a false sense of courage. I gave my presentation and asked for questions. One came. It was so stupid that I told the guy in no uncertain terms that his question was dumb and didn’t deserve an answer!”

 Back to the doctor.

 “Try these pills” he said, “but watch the dosage. Take 20 mg and see how that works out.”

 “So, for the next presentation, a few minutes beforehand, I took the pill. It didn’t seem to work so I took another 2 just in case. Well, blah, blah blah, blah blah blah. Blah, blah blah. Whew.”

 “Back to the doctor. He laughed, “you idiot. It takes about an hour for the pill to kick in. Try ½ dosage to start with.”

“Okay. I followed instructions and gave the presentation. Now, from your perspective it may have sounded all right. But from my perspective it sounded kind of like this……………..Myyyyy naaaameeee is Jaaaaayyyyyyy. After a few tries I succeeded in finding the right dose and things seemed to be less pronounced.

As time went on I learned every trick there is to mask the shakiness. So, like most people I have all of the common side effects in prepping for a presentation but with this one exception. Yet for me it has never been an affliction, just a physical trait, that’s all. And besides, unlike you, when a good tune comes on the radio, I can be a shakin all over……… without even trying.

 

 

“And that’s all she wrote George”

 

“Shakey Jay huh? Somewhat appropriate. See ya later Jay, till next time. Oh by the way, who’s she?”

 

“Bye George, eee gads!”

Proportional Representation

I just read an article by a group that want to change our electoral process from a First Past the Post system to one of Proportional Representation. Their primary argument was, among many, that Canada had one of the most unstable governments of the developed democracies. They cite Italy as an example of electoral stability.

I don’t know about you but as soon as I read that comment their argument became as mushy as a wet noodle or an overcooked bowl of pasta without the meat sauce. They point out that because Canada has had 22 elections as opposed to Italy’s 18 since WW2 that somehow Italy’s electoral process is a model of stability. Holy ravioli, it cannot be. Well it isn’t:

 Yes Canada has had 22 elections since WW2 but I would say that this is a reflection of how strong and stable our system of government is.

Canada has a parliamentary system of government based upon Westminster that calls for an election, until Harper’s fixed election date decree, of every 5 years. That alone would require an election every 14.2 years in Canada since 1945 if all governments were majority in nature. But they haven’t been and I would argue that that is also a good thing because the strength of our democracy and parliamentary system of government holds poor governments to account (remember Joe Clark, Meighen) by forcing them to go to the polls for public validation.  Minorities can also provide strong legislative government as reflected by Pearson’s successful minority governments of the mid 1960s.

Our system also prevents potential constitutional crises – Mackenzie King, Bing affair comes to mind – something that Italy could only hope for. By the way, Italy may have had only 18 elections since WW2 but they have had 65 different governments since 1945, and therein lies the problem that can arise with Proportional Representation (PR). Nothing gets done.  Why?  Because governance coalitions are necessary for power and political survival in these countries with their PR systems of government. Unfortunately, by their very nature, they are unstable. Can you imagine the chaos in Canada if the Layton, Dion and Duceppe coalition had taken down Harper’s minority government back in December 2008? Luckily, through our strong and stable system of rules and protocols, Harper was able to prorogue parliament and thus avoid political instability in this country. The Liberals backed down from the coalition early in 2009. Whew! Of course all of the lefties blew a hissy fit and spewed their spaghetti all over their bibs.

As an example of the efficacy of Italy’s PR system, here are some facts about Italy’s 2008 election:

“An early election was called (in Italy) when Romano Prodi resigned as prime minister in January, after the collapse of his centre-left coalition, which had been in power for just 20 months…only one Italian government has lasted a full five-year term in the last 50 years, led by conservative Silvio Berlusconi between 2001-2006 and even he was forced to resign once during that time by fractious allies.”

“Italians blame electoral laws for chronic instability that brought down the 61st government since World War Two in January. The system, still in use, mixes proportional representation with a threshold of 2 percent for parties in a coalition and 4 percent for single parties. It permitted more than 20 parties to take seats in 2006.”

And the real kicker here is:

“Both Berlusconi and Veltroni favoured altering the system to reduce the PR element and push Italy towards a two-party system.” Unfortunately, for Italy, that hasn’t happened yet.

Who knew?