My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

30 Articles Tagged with “rant”

  1. The Big Bang Theory and cultural appropriation

    I started watching The Big Bang Theory in my last year of university. A friend introduced me to it via the tried-and-true method of pressing some torrents on burned DVDs into my hand. (We were such rebels!) I quickly devoured, what, three seasons? Then I started watching it on TV. And, for a time, I really enjoyed it.

    But eventually that enjoyment dulled into a vague sense of ennui, which then sharpened into a more sour distaste for the entire enterprise. Unfortunately, the pressure of carrying on for 9 years has understandably diluted the quality of the writing. What I had once thought of as a “sitcom for nerds” now seems more to my eyes like “another sitcom about how nerds are socially awkward.” So I stopped watching.

    Yet it’s still around. And lately I’ve seen a couple of articles hating on the series—yes, still wildly popular, it’s now popular enough that hating on the series is nearly as mainstream as liking it. Counterculture is so confusing!

    We can debate whether or not the show’s “jokes” are funny and the degrees to which they seem original. But I feel like that’s ignoring a whole dimension of the issue, which is

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  2. More on math from Margaret: Arithmetic should be boring

    Once again Margaret Wente, my favourite Globe and Mail columnist, has delved into the gritty underworld of math education to expose the truth. This time she is concerned that we’re not teaching basic arithmetic in schools any more. She takes issue with recent trends in math education, which emphasize discovery-based learning over drill or rote-based learning. As a consequence of this shift, the standard algorithms for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are no longer a core part of the curriculum. Wente, as well as some parents and teachers, thinks this is a bad idea. And while I agree with her on one point—it’s essential for students to know basic arithmetic as they go on to high school—once again I have to protest how she has chosen to argue that point.

    Before I discuss Wente’s arguments, I think it’s important to mention one thing that Wente does not make explicit. Education falls under the mandate of the provincial governments. Hence, every province and territory in Canada has different math curricula. There are similarities, but we still have to be careful when we are talking about math education across the entire country as if it were some uniform curriculum.

    Canada is “Behind…

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  3. Why Wente is wrong about math education

    I woke up on Friday to see a page from Thursday’s Globe and Mail on the living room table. My dad had flagged an article by Margaret Wente as something that I might find relevant. You can find it online under the title “Too many teachers can’t do math, let alone teach it”, but in the paper itself it was published with the headline, “Go figure, because teachers can’t.” I encourage you to read the article, but the gist goes like this: elementary teachers, according to Wente, are failing to teach students the basics of math, because faculties of education don’t take their responsibility to prepare those teachers seriously enough.

    By way of disclaimer, I am preparing to teach at the Intermediate/Senior level (I/S), or grades 7–12. As an I/S teacher, and as a formally-trained mathematician, I have to admit to a bias when it comes to this subject: I do worry about how well-prepared elementary teachers are to teach math. I’ve marked for a course that teaches elementary concepts to prospective teachers, and some of the answers to the assignments are … creative. However, my concern isn’t so much with their knowledge of content; I worry more about…

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  4. Now we process our feelings

    This Monday, May 2, Canada had its 41st federal election, resulting in a Conservative majority government led by Stephen Harper. The results are somewhat surprising: though a Conservative government was likely, a majority was by no means a certainty. Perhaps the most interesting result of this election, however, is the effect it had on our other political parties. The NDP are now, for the first time ever, the Official Opposition Party in the House of Commons. They pretty much dominated Quebec, and they won 102 seats in the House. The Liberals were decimated, dropping from 77 seats to 34 (close to the same number the NDP had in the previous Parliament). Similarly, the Bloc Québécois went from 47 seats to 4. And for the first time ever, a Green Party candidate was elected--none other than the leader, Elizabeth May herself.

    So our election is filled with many historical firsts for Canadian politics, and our political landscape has changed dramatically. For a graphical idea of how much changed in this election, just take a look at these two maps of Canada depicting the results by riding: 2008 election and 2011 election. (These are from the respective Wikipedia articles on the…

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  5. Submission to the legislative committee on Bill C-32

    Today is the last day that the House of Commons legislative committee on Bill C-32 is accepting submissions regarding possible amends to Bill C-32, our latest attempt to amend the Copyright Act. What follows is my submission to them. It is definitely not very formal and contains no real proposed amendments--many more knowledgeable people have already made such submissions, and I defer to them in that area of expertise. Nevertheless, I felt that it was important to have my voice heard.

    Dear Legislative Committee on Bill C-32,

    I am not a pirate.

    Hard to believe, I know. The current draft of Bill C-32 seems to imply that piracy is rampant in Canada, and in particular among the demographic to which I belong, that of the 18–34-year-old university student. Curiously enough, this perspective corresponds to the one advanced by the industries who distribute music, movies, and media, the very industries who are now complaining that Internet piracy is destroying their business model. While I expect such heated, anti-consumer rhetoric from those industries, who after all are obligated by their shareholders to demonize and portray consumers as immoral beings who will only partake in legally-provided media if they have no other option,…

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  6. The federal government hates blind people and web designers

    Originally I was just going to tweet a link to this CBC news article and leave it at that. The more I thought about it, however, the more outraged I became. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's out of some need to feel vicariously oppressed, on account of the fact that I am a tall white male and thus systemically unoppressed. Maybe it's because, although I am not a professional web designer, I am familiar enough with the field to weep over the attitude displayed here by the government. It is 2011. Last December, the Web turned twenty years old. And we still can't support blind users? Seriously?

    That is what the federal government says. Apparently, rather than spend taxpayer money to pay web designers to update its websites, it would rather spend that money paying lawyers to appeal this court decision. Rather than offer equal services to blind users, it would rather go to court and spend our tax dollars to ensure it can continue discriminating. The government is making us accomplices to discrimination. And here I thought I lived in Canada, not the United States.

    I am taking a Philosophy of the Internet course this term, online of…

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  7. The census controversy: a travesty of Galilean proportion

    In 1633, Galileo was found "vehemently suspect" of heresy. His heretical opinion: holding and defending the belief that the Copernican, heliocentric model of the solar system was true in contravention to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Galileo was placed under house arrest for the remainder of his life and forced to recant, verbally and in writing, any belief in the Copernican model. His book, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, was banned. All because the Copernican model contradicts Biblical scripture. Well, mostly that. The conflict between Galileo and the Church was as much political as scientific or religious. Galileo had made some powerful enemies, people who also opposed Pope Urban VIII, accusing him of being too soft on heretics. So Galileo was in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Nearly five centuries later, the entire affair is one of the most stark examples of the conflict between science and religion.

    It was an unfortunate conflict, an unnecessary conflict. Whether science and religion are irreconciliable or incompatible is a much larger debate than I can discuss here, but in this case the conflict seems minor. Galileo was not a villain attempting to derail the Church; he…

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  8. Why I hate Facebook's news feed

    For reasons beyond my ken, I cannot sign into AIM at the moment I'm writing this. This lapse in stimulus caused my brain to seek more meaningless information bombardment before it collapsed into a pile of quivering, atrophied jelly. That's right: I went on Facebook. And as I sat here, staring at the New Feed on the homepage, I sighed.

    The News Feed is useless for my purposes, as are many of the tools Facebook purports to offer me.

    Now, although I have been (and continue to be) critical of Facebook's privacy policies, I did not quit Facebook and have no plans to do so. Despite my forthcoming complaints, Facebook is a useful tool in some respects; managed properly, privacy is a concern but not enough motivation for quitting the service altogether.

    My experience with Facebook has had incredible highs and some lows. Facebook reunited me with some friends, with whom I lost touch after moving across town, from elementary school. They are now friends in this newfangled adulthood thing I'm trying on for size. On the other hand, I've accepted friend requests from people I barely knew in high school (or barely remember from elementary school), purely because I…

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  9. Mmm, sizzling electrons

    That refreshing fragrance wafting toward your nostrils is the sweet smell of electrons zipping through wires into my house, my friend. For you see, I have not turned off my electrical appliances; my lights remain shining in several rooms of the house; and even if I powered down my computer, my brother and his friends continue to consume enough electricity to light a small third-world country, I'm sure.

    Allow me to be critical for a moment. While I applaud the ideals that Earth Hour attempts to promote, the method of promotion is lacking. I did not participate in Earth Hour.

    There are some who mistakenly believe this is an attempt to save power. Were it so, I would criticize it as an example of the typical Western "binge" attitude designed to intensely compensate for overconsumption the rest of the year round. It's obvious, however, that turning off one's lights for an hour a year isn't going to save any significant power. Indeed, sometimes other factors may cause power consumption to increase. Earth Hour isn't about saving juice; it's a symbolic gesture.

    As far as symbols go, however, it's all cymbals. Earth Hour is global chest-beating. While I'm sure there are…

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  10. It's all so Zen

    I'm not the first person to say this, certainly, but I'm far too lazy to Google for corroborating posts--strangely enough, if my ethical code ever collapses inward on itself,((Would this result in the formation of an ethical black hole?)) my laziness will always prevent me from plagiarizing. Writing my own stuff always seems easier than trying to find it, even with the miracle of the Internet.

    But I digress.

    Today's Internet phenomenon on the chopping block is Zen. The overuse of "zen" in product and website names throughout the Internet irks me--and I don't even practise Zen, so I can only imagine how those people who do feel about this.

    Firstly, don't blame Zen. That's tantamount to blaming Santa Claus for Coca-Cola. Much like Santa, Zen can't fight back.((Although in Santa's case, it's contractual, whereas Zen is an abstract, intangible concept and not a real person--which Santa IS.)) Secondly, yes, it is our fault. And by "we", I mean, us, those darn "Westerners" who have once again decided to co-opt an "Eastern" idea and market it as our own.((Like spaghetti. And communism.)) For shame.

    We stole Zen because we thought it was cool (and we are not). I…

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  11. Birmingham outlaws the apostrophe--seriously?!

    Furious doesn't even begin to describe it. Town councilors in Birmingham, England have decided to drop apostrophes from signage. This unilateral decision about signage grammar is nothing less than a declaration of war against the English language. I call for a retaliatory preemptive strike.((You may be wondering how that is possible--suffice it to say, considerable amounts of power and some time travel would be involved.))

    I'm appalled that people have the nerve to desecrate the English language in such a manner. It's true that English evolves; we change the spelling of words, and we create new words to express new concepts. Yet this change is artificial and arbitrary, chosen because it supposedly clears up confusion around what a street name implies or how to locate it on a GPS.

    Apostrophes seem to be a very controversial punctuation mark. Mind you, all punctuation marks have their little quirks. The comma is the overused youngest child; semicolons are the misunderstood middle child. As the oldest child, the colon tends to pick up the slack from its younger siblings. Periods are: final, definitive, and ubiquitous. Dashes and hyphens are like fraternal twins--similar-yet-different. None of these, however, attracts as much controversy as…

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  12. Think This, Say That, Wear Your Flag

    I woke up this morning to the following headline in my RSS feeds, courtesy of CBC News: N.B. school silences O Canada. It already had 249 comments then; it's up to 658 comments as I'm writing this. CBC News has since updated the article to expand its content and provide a more detailed story; the original article was less informative, which didn't stop people from commenting on it.

    In case I haven't been clear in the past, let me first establish that I don't believe in being "politically correct". What's the point in living in a free country if you have to walk on eggshells just to avoid offending anyone? To that end, it's Merry Christmas and not Happy Holidays. You can say BCE or BC; I don't care--it's still inherently based on Christianity, so it isn't "politically correct"--just annoying.

    But I digress.

    My initial reaction to the article was, "Well, this is stupid." This was just another example of the politically correct movement going too far! There's nothing wrong with singing the national anthem! Back in my day (I can't believe it's been two years already), I sang the national anthem aloud every morning at school--and I

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  13. Online/Offline is a false dichotomy

    Two months ago I read The Numerati, in which Stephen Baker discusses how technology--particularly the Internet--is affecting marketing techniques and how businesses and individuals manage their data. Now that we have the tools and understanding to mathematically model more behaviour than ever before, there's a new group of people--the eponymous Numerati--at the forefront of this information revolution.

    One of the concerns Baker briefly addresses is privacy. On the Internet, this has always been an issue, but the surge in popularity of social networking this year makes it even more relevant. MySpace and Facebook have made headlines with the Lori Drew case and the launch of identity management Facebook Connect.((Google Friend Connect gets no respect. Poor OpenSocial!)) What was once a matter of "privacy" is now a question of the most appropriate mechanism for managing the convergence of one's offline and online personae.

    And I can't help but feel that some people are missing the point.

    What is Privacy?

    Like "Web 2.0", we tend to throw the term "privacy" around quite a bit without much thought to what we actually want when we demand it. Does this merely mean we want our bank account details safe? Or do…

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  14. Hate the hate

    For the second time this year, anti-gay group Westboro Baptist Church is planning to come to Canada to stage a protest, and people want to put a stop to it.

    Every time this sort of controversy comes up in the news, I have to stop and consider it carefully. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Section 2) guarantees us the following basic rights:

    • freedom of conscience and religion;
    • freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
    • freedom of peaceful assembly; and
    • freedom of association

    At the same time, however, we also have legislation in place to protect people from hate-crimes and hate-speech. So the question is, do anti-gay groups like the Westboro Baptist Church violate this anti-hate legislation? And regardless of this first question, are we violating their rights to freedom of opinion, freedom of expression, and freedom of association? Freedom of peaceful assembly is a separate issue--whether or not this group is "peaceful" is subject to debate altogether, and I would probably say that they are not.

    I like to pride myself in being open-minded enough to truly believe in free speech for everyone, even if I…

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  15. Taking the initiative

    Back in June, my friend blogged about people showing off their Wikismarts to him. I envy him, because on the other side of the coin, there seems to be a plethora of people with zero initiative.

    You know who I'm talking about. The people who seem to have no filter in their brain and ask you every question that bubbles up to the murky surface of their minds, even if the current discussion has nothing to do with the question. These people regularly lurk on message boards and in IRC channels, just waiting to begin asking questions that would be better answered by a trip over to Wikipedia than waiting for someone else to prepare a (probably inaccurate) explanation.

    There's no excuse, really. Most browsers come with search forms built into the browser chrome itself. Even if not, Google (or one's favourite search engine) is a single page-load away. There is no excuse to derail an existing conversation by asking for someone to explain what the topic of the conversation is all about. Go find out, come back, and show off those Wikismarts.

    This isn't much more than a short rant. It just flusters me, because I applaud those…

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  16. Cognitive dissonance strikes again

    We all do it. A celebrity--actor, athlete, whoever--appears on our television screen and tells us to do something, to support some cause, to buy a product. Because, you know, they use the product or support that cause, so we should too.

    When that happens, I just like to remind myself that these are the same types of people whom we vilify for leading immoral, hedonistic lifestyles of sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll. We condemn these people for those actions and then turn around and succumb to marketing ploys that appeal to our admiration of these same people.

    It's just another facet of our wonderful brain that we're able to reconcile such contradictory value judgements. ^_^

    Anyway, I have to go purchase more things that a celebrity tells me will change my life because it changed theirs too. And they'd never lie to me for money, right?

  17. Holidays: paradgim shift or just lazy?

    For a moment today, I was almost able to forget that it was Halloween. Not that I have anything against Halloween. In its present incarnation it's a charming way for kids to dress up, express their imagination, and of course, collect as much Canada as they can. And really, if you can't count on candy in a democratic society, then what is my government doing with all those tax dollars?

    Somewhere between this year and last, however, I've lost my connection to the Halloween spirit. It might have fallen between the couch cushions--I'll check when I get home. I haven't trick-or-treated in a couple of years, and I don't do the party thing. So there's not a lot for me to do for Halloween. I'd dress up, but I don't have many costume ideas, and I'm too lazy to put effort into creating an excellent costume. I do admire those who take the time. On campus here we've got someone dressed up like Waldo (as in Where's Waldo?) and a pair of carebears. ^_^ Occasionally I worry that this lack of Halloween participation is a sign I'm losing my will to be imaginative and expressive and am slowly turning…

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  18. Universal warming

    As I've said previously, I'm tired of the repetitive fearmongering being done in the name of our "global warming" crusade. It's another example of herd mentality exacerbating a crisis that it is supposed to be solving. Last century it was nuclear weapons, this century it's global warming.

    Well wake up people, and stop being so selfish! After all, we are not the only planet in this universe. There are many other planets out there that are heating up. In fact, I've "discovered" a dangerous new phenomenon that must be stopped! Universal warming.

    Here's how it goes. We constantly produce information. Information is useless without transmission; it only becomes usable when conveyed from one state to another (i.e., from person to person). Transmitting information requires energy. As energy is used, entropy in the system increases. To demonstrate, take talking for example. If you talk about something, you are transmitting information. This means you are increasing the net entropy of the universe. Everything you do increases entropy, unfortunately.

    Why is entropy bad? Because entropy is the tendency of a system toward increasing disorder. As entropy increases, the amount of usable energy declines. Eventually we'll suffer the heat-death of the universe and the…

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  19. To all my friends south of the border

    Please, when you come to Canada, change your money. It isn't that hard, and it will save me some headaches.

    Thunder Bay is close to the border, so we get frequent American visitors to the art gallery. For some reason, they believe it's fine to just hand us American money. Canada's just the 51st state anyway, right? I know that when I go to the States, I don't flash my Canadian cash all around the place. I trade my money in for your pallid green bills.

    Our cash register is not a hi-tech computer with a flat panel display and a high speed Internet connection. It's a box with lights and a few buttons. The exchange rate is currently set to about 62 American cents for every Canadian dollar, and our boss has to change it manually. I honestly don't even know how to do the conversion on the machine (there's a button, but I'm never sure when to push it during the transaction...).

    So please, take it from someone who has to deal with your cash. I'll be happier if you change it to Canadian money. Our bills are shiny and colourful--you'll like them as souvenirs. And if…

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  20. The death of culture

    Often you'll read one critic or intellectual or another say something along the lines of how Hollywood is destroying the movie industry, creating cheap flicks at the expense of "art" and "culture". And as much as I am sometimes tempted to agree with this cynical evaluation of our entertainment industry, I can't bring myself to jump on that bandwagon. I just can't.

    I have observed that more movies are "packaged" these days. What are "packaged" movies? Well, these are the hits that look and feel like the director simply sent in a form from a mail-order catalogue--he or she filled out the title and main characters, and the company sent back a pre-packaged movie: special effects, music, etc. Movies like Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, and--especially with its third installment--Spider-Man are packaged blockbusters.

    Are packaged movies inherently evil? Does it make a movie bad? Of course not. I like each of those three movie series above--although none of them are particularly spectacular--but they aren't moving and they aren't cathartic. And sometimes you need that. Sometimes you don't need a purging; you just need some action, some humour, and some explosions. The only reservation I carry is…

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  21. Visa: Communists, terrorists, or both?

    The Visa credit card company is always trying to give us free stuff. Think about it: "win what you buy"? That grocery contest? We all know that there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. The glorious capitalist system was founded on such a principle. So if Visa is giving away things for free, then they are violating the very foundation of free-market economy.

    Is Visa in league with the terrorists? It wouldn't surprise me: working away at our morals from the inside. It's of course the only logical conclusion. :yes:

    You might argue that Visa only uses these contests as promotional ventures to encourage spending through the Visa credit card. Quite frankly I think such detractors from my logical argument simply harbour sympathies for Visa and other communist conspirators!

    I'm glad I've exposed this plot to shake the very pillars of prosperity before it went too far. :arr:

  22. Shopping logic

    I must say, I seem to lack a lot of the basic social knowledge required to survive in the modern world. One must wonder why the Sierra Club hasn't blacklisted me yet.

    My former English teacher, Ms. Sukalo, is in town for Easter this week (she now teaches in New York, so I don't get to see her often). Myself and a bunch of friends finally got to see her today; we met for coffee (well, I had iced lemonade) and caught up, talked, etc. 'Twas quite fun. Afterward, I had to drive my friend Cortney home. She lives in Kakabeka, so this basically entails driving along a single road until we got to Kakabeka, dropping her off, then turning around and going back home.

    Driving in the dark is scary because it's so hard to see. Driving on the highway is scary because you're moving at speeds humans aren't, technically, supposed to be using. So, combine driving in the dark on the highway and you'll get an activity that I don't like very much. :D Suffice it to say, I think that it's crazy to hurtle around in a large metal object at dangerous speeds while similar large metal…

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  23. Enough with the global warming crisis already

    I've already blogged about the indecency with which people have treated global warming. This is not a repeat, but an addendum.

    Society loves to make a big deal out of issues that are silly and don't really matter, like gay marriage or what colour of underwear Britney Spears purchases. If we didn't draw so much attention to them, guess what: they wouldn't affect our lives that much. Yes, shocking.

    I am sick and tired of pundits on both sides of this issue blowing it out of proportion. Yes, global warming exists. Sure, maybe humans are contributing. Go ahead and debate the significance of our contribution as much as you want. The major source of controversy, it seems, are the efforts to curb our greenhouse gas emissions; some groups believe that these efforts are wastes of time. Well consider this: so what if humans don't have an effect on global warming? Does this mean that not curbing our greenhouse gas emissions will help more than curbing them will? I am not a climatologist--or even an economist for that matter--but even if we don't have a significant impact on global warming, I would think that lessening our dependency on fossil fuels…

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  24. Global Warming: The buzzword of the 2000s

    Graph showing the inverse relationship of pirates and global temperature Perfectly valid scientific theories have the unfortunate tendency to become conflated and overladen with inaccurate information after becoming generally accepted public fact.

    Let me start off, however, with a few disclaimers. I do believe that the "global warming phenomenon" exists to a quantifiable degree, that the Earth's temperature is slowly rising, that humans are contributing to it (although not necessarily as much as some claim, but probably more than most would like to admit) with our dependency on fossil fuels, and that it does pose a threat to the future of our species.

    Up here in Canada we're experiencing an unusually mild winter. As a result, the term "global warming" has become one of the decade's top buzzwords: words that people use even though they don't actually apply. It's liked "Web 2.0". It's a term that at one time had a valid definition, but the public has seized upon it, gutted it mercilessly, and taken it so far out of context that it no longer means anything at all. The same is happening to global warming. Once a fine scientific theory, people are blowing it out of proportion.

    "Oh my God, he's gone conservative!" you start screaming at me. "How…

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  25. The debate over 'nations'

    Ah, Canada. The wonderful thing about Canadian politics is that it's been the same thing for the past 139 years. Quebec is still whining about becoming a nation.

    The problem comes down, as it usually does, to semantics. That's probably one of the ugliest words in the English language. Semantics. People debating over the definition of words. I don't think it's coincidence that it rhymes with pedantic. ;)

    For those asleep, let me wake you up. Our Great and Mighty Prime Minister Stephen Harper suggested that Quebec be recognised as a nation within Canada. As you might expect, this did not go over well with the Bloc. It definitely threw the Liberals through a loop, however--they apparently did not see this one coming.

    Now I will admit that my first reaction was this: That's stupid! Quebec isn't a nation! Look, either you're nation or you're not, and Quebec isn't a nation.

    But some part of me knew I was wrong, or at least suspected it. So I trundled over to Wikipedia and looked up what a nation actually was, because believe it or not, but I didn't know--and I doubt many people do know the difference between…

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  26. Get your "fash on"

    Okay, this is the last straw. Old Navy, you have gone too far.

    For the record, breaking up the word "fashion" into two separate words, "fash" and "on", in an attempt to make a cute pop-style song for your latest advertising campaign, cannot be described by any of the following adjectives: clever, cute, funny, interesting, effective, original. And many more.

    Those commercials with their idiotic repeating refrain of "Get your fash on / fash, fash on" annoy me to no end. I must commend your marketing people in their creation of such an evil slogan. Not only is it stuck in my head, but it is an unacceptable and pathetic slaughtering of the English language. Considering that no one at Old Navy--neither the people who sew your jeans nor the marketing gurus (who speak Weasel)--actually speaks English, this probably should not be surprising. I never said I was surprised; I'm just outraged.

    In fact, I am fairly sure that if such stupid and asinine commercials disappeared from television, crime rate would drop dramatically overnight. I don't know why the terrorists even bother anymore. Between reality television and commercials the Western world is already going to kill itself before…

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  27. The meaning of Christmas

    I'm not talking about the religious significance, nor what Christmas represents. Nor am I talking about how retail outlets like to turn Christmas into a commercial venture and media circus. That's been done ad nauseum.

    I'd like to point out that Christmas, however, is quite silly if you think about it. Let's take this "good will" and "Christmas cheer" idea. We're supposed to have extra good will toward people and be extra cheery, eh? Isn't that admitting that we weren't as good willed and cheery as we could have been the rest of the year? I maintain that it would be better to be happy and have good will toward people for one's entire life instead of one month of the year. Really.

    And that's what I dislike about Western culture. Eastern cultures seem to have the right idea. They may seem a bit strict with some things, but they are like that because they constantly appreciate things all the time. Conversely, the West has this weird tendency to go on "binges" of celebrating when they indulge in appreciation of a subject to the excess for a few days/weeks instead of appreciating it year-round. It really underlines a fundamental…

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  28. Slim Santa?

    Many of you know that Cookie Monster now eats cookies as a "sometimes" food. rolleyes Now, I am as much against rising child obesity as the next intelligent superluminal particle. It is a problem, especially in developed countries like Canada. But this . . . this goes too far!

    The Christmas season is now upon us, and it has got me thinking (yes! :o). Santa really isn't all that different from Cookie Monster; he's this jolly old fat man who likes to eat cookies, yet he can still fit down a chimney even after all of that food. It suddenly occurs to me that if society manages to tone down Cookie Monster, then Santa Claus is the next logical target.

    Anyone for "slim Santa"? A Santa Claus who advocates eating healthy food? Coca-Cola probably wouldn't buy into it (you do know what's in Coke, right? :ermm:) but I'm sure that tons of advocacy groups would have a field day. Slowly we'd see our cultural perceptions of Santa Claus shift from jolly old fat man to young, middle-aged multi-racial male with an average income and mixed religious background. :yes:

    On the bright side, this means that the employment industry for…

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  29. My letter to the CBC

    Subject: Canadian programming is dead.

    Dear CBC:

    I am an adolescent who enjoys watching much of the CBC's programming, including the wonderful show CBC News: The Hour. I know this may come as a surprise to you (I mean, you're governed by the Department of Heritage!) but yes, I quite enjoy CBC programming.

    Which is one of the reasons that I was extremely disappointed that instead of CBC News: The Hour, I was invited to watch Political Assassinations. Lo and behold, after an entire summer of anticipation, I am forced to wait yet again! Thus, I am urging the CBC to resolve this labour dispute so that we can get back to what you really should be doing, which is providing quality Canadian programming, rather than attempting to satisfy a fictional system based on arbitrarily decided amounts of numbers.

    I am quite frankly tired of everything being about money. We have gone, as Canadians, an entire season without hockey for precisely the same reason that we are now facing the worst shortage of Canadian programming in my lifetime. I would not like to see an entire season pass by without CBC News: The Hour.

    I had hoped that somewhere…

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  30. Blasphemy and sacrilege grace the CBC

    After my school board lets me down, my Minister of Education lets me down, and my laptop lets me down, I started to wonder what would go wrong next. It turns out that was a bad idea.

    The CBC is having some labour difficulties right now. Basically, the permanent staff wants the management to hire more permanent staff and decrease the amount of work they contract out. From the management point of view, it's cheaper to contract work because if they cancel a show, any permanent staff have to find a new job with another show, whereas contractors can just be let go. From the permanent staff's point of view, it's a job security issue.

    NHL Lockout, anyone? The stupidity quotients on each side are just about right.

    My real gripe is that it interferes with something I consider one of the greatest things since sliced bread: CBC News: The Hour. It's a new show on CBC Newsworld hosted by former MuchMusic host George Stroumboulopolos (I think I spelt that right). You may remember him, he advocated for Tommy Douglas on CBC's The Greatest Canadian. The show is blatantly targetted at a younger audience (which, for the CBC,…

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About Me

I’m a 26-year-old math and English teacher back in Canada after two years teaching in England. In my free time, I read books! When I’m not reading, I’m writing, coding, or knitting.

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I started coding websites, in bad HTML on Geocities, in 2004 in a fit of whimsy. Since then I’ve learned PHP/MySQL, coded my own blog software, and rebuilt this site several times. With the exception of the blog, it’s currently running on the exquisite Symphony CMS. This website is hosted by HawkHost

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