Friday, February 27, 2009

His Name Told Him To

Sometimes a person's name can be influential on their life. Meet Mr. Nickerson, or should that be Mr. Knickers-on? For, you see, Mr. Nickerson is the star of Today's Article.

Mr. Nickerson got drunk, took a walk in the woods, and took his trousers off to answer nature's call. In his inebriated state, he lost his trousers. He stumbled around until he found the home of a couple of senior citizens. He broke in, found a package of women's adult diapers. Then, well, as his name told him to, Mr. Knickers-on put the knickers on. He put them on over his own underpants. He passed out and was found by the owners of the home the next morning.

The woman ran to a neighbour to get away, call the police, etc. When she told her neighbour, I wonder if the neighbour asked "Where is he now?" and she answered "Under there!" thus forcing the neighbour to say "under where?" I know I couldn't have resisted.

Nickerson was arrested, fined, and given probation.

I can imagine a conversation between Mr. Nickerson and his lawyer going like this:

Lawyer: "You're in a wee bit of crap now."

Nickerson: "Do you think I'll get off?"

Lawyer: "Depends. How many times have you been in trouble with the law?"

Nickerson: "This is number 1."

This is one of those stories where the embarrassment factor of the crime outweighs any punishment that could have been handed down by the judge. I don't know if Mr. Nickerson thought he was going to jail, but I bet he was relieved to find out he wasn't.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I'm An Artist Too (104)

My "Napkin Art" is usually done during family devotions after dinner at the McQueen household. Tonight's devotions were about dealing with people criticizing your vision. This guy is saying "Your criticism sucks!"

There's the missing irony I mentioned in last week's art.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I'm An Artist Too (103)

This is a rip-off of a scene from the old 1960's Batman where Batman is attacked by a shark and he sprays it with his Bat Shark-Repellent Spray.

Pastor Jack saw this napkin and said "You know what's missing from this one? Irony. There's no irony in this."

Next week I introduce some irony back into my Napkin Art.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My New Child

I have a kid. Well, sort of. She's not actually my child. I'm not even sure how to pronounce her name. But she has the cutest name for me. She calls me "Sponsor." For, you see, she's my World Vision child.

She's not my first World Vision child. I had one before. I had her for many years. I got my first World Vision child about 8 years ago. I liked her. We had an understanding. Apart from my monthly contribution, I ignored her, and she ignored me. It worked well.

Until this year. I got a letter from World Vision saying that sometimes families are hard to keep track of. They move around, and it's easy to lose them. They gave me a new child. Apparently, she isn't entering our relationship with the same set of presuppositions as my last child. I've only had her for a couple of months, and she's already sent me a letter.

Given the handwriting, I assumed the letter was written by my child. But at the bottom it said that it was translated and written by someone else. This "someone else" has the hand writing of a child. I had to wonder why they would have a child translating and rewriting another child's writing. I thought to myself "Maybe, it's one of Kathy-Lee's kids."

Now I'll feel guilty if I don't write back. If you've ever emailed me, you know how long you can wait for a reply. Snail mail is ten times worse. By the time I write back, she may be all grown up with kids of her own. I don't know if I can handle the guilt for that long.

At first I thought "If she wants to know about me and my life, she should just read my blog." But, I don't know if they've installed the tubes to carry the internets into her village yet. And she might not understand English. I don't know how good Google's English - Elbonian translator is.

Friday, February 13, 2009

That's A Good IDea

There's a lot of debate about Evolution versus Creation versus Intelligent Design. Evolutionists see only one other alternate explanation to life and how it got here: Creation, and they claim it's not science. Most Evolutionists see Intelligent Design as "Creationism in a cheap tuxedo." One of the reasons it's not science, they say, is that it doesn't make predictions.

I knew that to be true of Creationism. Creationism comes from revelation. But Design Theorists claim that Intelligent Design is science. They claim it starts with the data, not revelation. One day I decided to see if I could find what predictions are made by Design Theorists.

I found several predictions, one of which is that "two species will share a complex trait that a common ancestor doesn't have." So, for example, if:
  1. Species A and B both have eyes,
  2. Species A and B both evolved from species C,
  3. Species C does not have eyes, and
  4. Eyes are complex
then it is more likely that eyes were designed than that they evolved - twice - accidentally.

This prediction seems to be based on the idea that just about anything evolving, even once, is highly unlikely. Something evolving twice—independently—is even more unlikely. Especially when you consider that evolution is based on random mutations.

The prediction is also based on the idea that designers tend to re-use already designed parts. (Just ask any Object Oriented programmer.)

So I wondered if this is ever seen in nature. According to Today's Article (in New Scientist) it is.

You'll have to read the article for details.

Now, this could have come about by random mutations + natural selection + time. Either way, this was a prediction made by Design Theorists, and it's been confirmed. It doesn't prove anything about Intelligent Design, Creation, or Evolution. It's just a confirmed prediction.

It does deny one assertion made by many evolutionists: that Intelligent Design makes no predictions.

Note: It is possible that I misunderstood everything in the article. I'm a computer programmer, not a biologist, biochemist, or paleontologist.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I'm An Artist Too (102)

Les Promenades des L'Outouais is the mall near my office. "Opportunitie d'affairs" means there is a space for a store to open. There always seems to be a lot of stores opening, then closing a few weeks later. I wonder if the rent is too high, causing stores to go out of business.

I see this almost everyday.

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Ox Bringeth Change

Besides being the year of the Ox, 2009 will be the year of change for me. (No, I was not born during the year of the Ox.)

I started this blog to record my adventures with the family I live with, the McQueens. Over time, their cars and appliances broke down less and less, and I had less stories to tell. I started drawing attention to articles I had stumbled across. Then I started displaying my Coffee Cup Art.

Lately I had been thinking I should blog more about my life. Last week someone told me they thought so too. They wanted to read about what was going on in my life. I just had to decide what, in my life, I would blog about. I can continue to blog about the McQueens when as stories arise. I can't really blog about work. The rest of my life mostly consists of sitting on a bus and/or reading.

But this year may be different. I've decided to do some church hopping. When you move to a new city, and you want to find a new church, you should look around. When looking for a new church you need to look for three things:
  1. Good theology
  2. Opportunities for you to serve.
  3. Opportunities for you to be served

When I moved to Sault Ste. Marie I did a bit of church hopping. Not much. It didn't take long for me to find my church and to know that's where I belonged. I just knew.

When I moved to Ottawa, I chose my church based on the fact Pastor Jack was the Pastor. I haven't really felt like it was my church for quite a while. Even though I got membership there, it was more out of momentum than anything else. It could be the best church in Ottawa for me, or it could be the worst. I simply don't know. I don't know because I haven't looked around.

I've only been to two other churches in the area. One is way out in Kanata. I liked that church, but it's so far away! The other is highly populated, implying lots of people like it. Every time I've gone I've been thoroughly unimpressed. It's the church everyone goes to when they leave their church. I don't think I'll be going there. Leaving your Ottawa church and going to that church is so cliché. I hate the thought of being cliché. I also don't want to go to a church full of disgruntled former members and adherents of other churches.

2009 is also the year I'll be moving out of the McQueen's house...I think. I love the McQueens. They've been great to live with, but I'm getting really tired of living in Embrun. It's so far away from everything! I work over 50 km away from home. At the end of the day I rarely feel like going back into town. Nor do I have the time. Then, by the weekend, after driving 600 km (or spending 20 hours on a bus) I don't feel like going in then either. My social life has really suffered.

Living with the McQueens is cost-effective, which is important when I bit off more than I could chew when I bought my car, and when I want to finish my flight training (tres expensive).

Robin, the McQueen's youngest daughter, is finishing High School this year. Once she leaves, the McQueens will likely move. There's no sense in having a house large enough for a whole family when it's just the two of them....and possibly me.

I will try to stay with the McQueens for as long as I can. When the time comes to move out, I think I'll blog about my home-search. Maybe some of you familiar with Ottawa can give me hints like "Don't live there! You'll need Kevlar wallpaper!" or "You should move there. It already has Kevlar wallpaper."

Friday, February 06, 2009

One Strike and We're Out! - Part 3

I don't like to call anyone an idiot. This will be one of the hardest posts I've ever written.

If you've been keeping up with the OC Transpo stike, you'll remember about a couple of weeks ago Rona Ambrose, Minister of Labour, refused to legislate the bus drivers back to work. She basically said "Solve your own problems. That's what collective bargaining is for."

Then, last week I read Today's Article which states that Rona Ambrose is prepared to introduce back-to-work legislation.

Oh great! Another flip-flopping politician! That's just what we need. *groan*

It turns out she didn't even have to do that. The kids agreed to take everything to binding arbitration with no preconditions. Now 70% of service will be restored on Saturday, February 7. 100% of service won't be restored until April 6.

A few things occur to me about all this:

  • If they can get 70% service up and running in a week, why will it take an additional 2 months for the remaining 30%?
    I hope that they're giving a worst-case scenario. We've already seen the restoration moved up once.

  • André Cornellier is a high-functioning illiterate and needs to be replace as soon as possible. The city continued to make modified counter-offers, which he rejected as being "more of the same." Then, when those counter-offers got into the papers, we could see that it wasn't "more of the same." They city was offering the raises that the union was asking for. In fact, at one point the city said to the union "We're not married to our idea of scheduling. If you can come up with a solution that's safe, and saves money, we're all ears." And what did the union offer? Nothing new, just more of the same. (It's quite possible that I'm wrong about this. If I am, it's the fault of Cornellier not communicating it to me, the public.)

  • A public representative/spokesperson, such as André Cornellier, really needs to be a good public speaker. As can be seen in this article he says "Well, I was not elected by my membership to be a public speaker." He's got that right! The union needs to elect someone who will fight for them, and be a good public speaker.

    The union didn't just lose the media war. They got pwned! They got slaughtered!

    Winning the media was is important. If the union had won the media war, the people would have said to the politicians "End this now, or you lose my vote, and by extension your job." As it was, the city won the war. People were saying to the city "This has been a terrible inconvenience for me, but don't give into their demands!" In other words "You're giving me the shaft, but you're not going to lose my vote over it." What an enviable position for a politician!

    In order to win this media war, all André Cornellier would have had to do is get the people to side against policiticans. How hard can that be? Especially when the main politician is Larry O'Brien! People, by default, take sides against politicians. People aren't necessarily big fans of unions either. If André Cornellier didn't make the following two mistakes he could have won the media war, thus getting the public on his side:
    1. Show more sympathy to those affected by the strike.

    2. Communicate to the public what the strike was all about so that they could understand.

    Instead, he:
    1. Showed no sympathy to the public. He appeared to only care about the striking workers. (Whether this is true or not is debatable, but it's appearance that matters in a media war.)

    2. It took about a month before I started reading in the papers what the union was asking for. To this date, I still hear people talking about the strike, completely misunderstanding the issues. He let us continue on in our ignorance. Forcing workers to spread their working day over 14 hours is ridiculous. Most people understand that. They were in a very sympathetic position. I think communication, or lack thereof, was the culprit.

  • Cornellier said "It is a constitutional right to strike, but the government doesn't take it as a right when they legislate — it's sad."

    No, André, the government refused to interfere when they were asked for the legislation because "that's what collective bargaining is for".

    Then they were going to legislate because they saw that collective bargaining wasn't getting anywhere. After 7 weeks, the union hadn't made any concessions. The strike wasn't any closer to being resolved than it was on the first day. They did what they had to do.

My message to the members of ATU Local 279: When the opportunity to vote in a new Local president, you need to vote someone else in. Get André Cornellier out. He's just hurting you. You need someone who will, not only fight for you, but will be a good communicator, a good public speaker; someone who will get the public on your side.

BTW: Welcome back. It will good to see you again.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

I'm An Artist Too (101)

This is a trophy alien head. You can see some veins and a hole in the skull. Notice the use of shadows behind the head on the wall.