Op-Ed Joust

Op-Ed

During the recent Canadian Federal Election campaign, which threatened to become as long and strange as the American one, a failed municipal politician with very Liberal leanings had the following rant/letter about the Conservative Prime Minister published in the local paper.

A QUESTIONABLE TACTIC

I’m no fan of Stephen Harper. No surprise there.  But not withstanding my political leanings, I am deep disturbed that he is, by accounts, a five-question leader.

On a daily basis he has been limiting questions from the national media to four, and one from local media, with no follow-ups. I am unaware of any such limits by the other party leaders.

We are in the middle of a profoundly critical debate about Canada’s future, so we need to hear clear answers to the most difficult questions that face our country. But the person who wants us to continue to support him for four years is limiting reporters to a mere five questions a day.

My conclusions may be ungenerous, but I would call this hiding. Personally, I don’t think any of our leaders should be hiding behind arbitrary rules that limit our ability to ask tough questions of them every day of the campaign, and have them answer them thoroughly and comprehensively, so as to be transparent and accountable.

Perhaps, just perhaps, this limit of five is the most telling indicator of how accountable Harper really is and is prepared to be. Maybe not.

John Ryrie

Fortunately, a fresh shipment of snark had just arrived here at Grumps R Us, and I was able to provide him with the following.

 

ON THE JOB

In his, A Questionable Tactic letter of Oct. 14, John Ryrie may have missed a point because, like me, he’s an old fogy.

Today’s banal public media circus is all too full of inconsequential 140 character Kardashian Tweets and Instagram photos of someone’s lunch of baked beans.

By limiting the media to five questions, Harper is forcing them to focus and do their job.  They have to plan ahead and ask incisive questions, more relevant than, “What color socks are you wearing?” or, “Are you betting on the Blue Jays?”

Five serious questions per day should be enough.  This allows him to get on with the important job of governing the country, rather than stopping to feed the Info-tainment industry.

 

Grumpy Old Archon (as usual)

 

Things get strange during an election campaign, as the Americans continue to learn.  Media reporters, and Liberal opponents, feel they can just stop the Prime Minister and pump him for information so they can direct their counterattack.  He’s got two jobs.  One is to run a campaign.  The other is to run the country – until he was defeated (Sadly, in my opinion.)

Perhaps the other party leaders have the free time to kibitz with reporters.  That’s what the P.M.’s Media Office, and press releases are for.  I can hardly imagine, “President Obama, will we be bombing Palmyra?” or, “Pope Francis, are you going to sanctify gay marriage?”

Have you Americans got some odd election occurrences you’d like to make us Canucks aware of?

 

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Hug A Thug

Terrorist

Adopt a Terrorist..!!

This is a BRILLIANT piece… and just too good to miss reading. I thought, here is a bureaucrat who is worth his salary – and perhaps a raise.

Canadians know how to handle complaints. Here is an example.

A liberal Canadian female wrote a lot of letters to the Canadian government, complaining about the treatment of captive insurgents (terrorists) being held in Afghanistan National Correctional System facilities. She demanded a response to her letter.  She received the following reply:

From: National Defence Headquarters
Maj. Gen. George R. Pearkes Bldg., 15 NT,
101 Colonel By Drive Ottawa , ON
K1A 0K2 Canada.

Dear Concerned Citizen,

Thank you for your recent letter expressing your profound concern of treatment of the Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists captured by Canadian Forces, who were subsequently transferred to the Afghanistan Government and are currently being held by Afghan officials in Afghanistan National Correctional System facilities.

Our administration takes these matters seriously and your opinions were heard loud and clear here in Ottawa. You will be pleased to learn, thanks to the concerns of citizens like yourself… we are creating a new department here at the Department of National Defense, to be called ‘Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers’ program, or “L.A.R.K.” for short.

In accordance with the guidelines of this new program, we have decided, on a trial basis, to divert several terrorists and place them in homes of concerned citizens such as yourself… around the country, under those citizens’ personal care. Your personal detainee has been selected and is scheduled for transportation under heavily armed guard to your residence in Toronto next Monday.

Ali Mohammed Ahmed bin Mahmud is your detainee, and is to be cared for pursuant to the standards you personally demanded in your letter of complaint. You will be pleased to know that we will conduct weekly inspections to ensure that your standards of care for Ahmed are commensurate with your recommendations.

Although Ahmed is a sociopath and extremely violent, we hope that your sensitivity to what you described as his ‘attitudinal problem’ will help him overcome those character flaws. Perhaps you are correct in describing these problems as mere ‘cultural differences’. We understand that you plan to offer ‘counseling and home schooling’, however, we strongly recommend that you hire some assistant caretakers.

Please advise any Jewish friends, neighbours or relatives about your house guest, as he might get agitated or even violent, but we are sure you can ‘reason’ with him. He is also expert at making a wide variety of explosive devices from common household products, so you may wish to keep those items locked up, unless in your opinion, this might ‘offend him and his sensibilities’.

Your adopted terrorist is extremely proficient in hand-to-hand combat and can extinguish human life with such simple items as a pencil or nail clippers. We advise that you do not ask him to demonstrate these skills either in your home or wherever you choose to take him while ‘helping him adjust to life in our country’.

Ahmed will not wish to interact with you or your daughters except sexually… since he views females as a form of property, thereby having no rights, including refusal of his sexual demands. This is a particularly sensitive subject for him.

You also should know that he has shown violent tendencies around women who fail to comply with the dress code that he will recommend as more appropriate attire. I’m sure you will come to enjoy the anonymity offered by the burka over time. Just remember that it is all part of ‘respecting his culture and religious beliefs’ as described in your letter.

You take good care of Ahmed and remember that we will try to have a counselor available to help you over any difficulties you encounter while Ahmed is adjusting to Canadian culture.

Thanks again for your concern. We truly appreciate it when folks like you keep us informed of the “PROPER WAY TO DO OUR JOB AND CARE FOR OUR FELLOW MAN”.

Good luck and God bless you.

Cordially, Gordon O’Connor

#492

Flash Fiction #56

Tunnel

PHOTO PROMPT © Stephen Baum

OUT

Cindy lived in the Bible Belt.  Usually she was very careful what she did and said.  A couple of years ago, a handsome young man had tried to pick her up at the entrance to a club.

She replied, “I’m not straight.”  In a lobby full of smoked-up pill-droppers, that was not unusual, and he persisted.  “No!  I’m not straight.” and Marilyn had come out, and they’d gone home.

Now, the Federal Supreme Court had ruled that her State government could no longer withhold rights and privileges enjoyed by all other citizens.  She and Marilyn were going to get married.

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

#478

The Long And Short Of It

Bank of Montreal

Playing Corporation Games, Changing Corporation Names

Once upon a time, long, long ago, before the internet, computers, tablets and smart phones, we had the time to use big words, and impressive speech and writing, and businesses had imposing names.  Then progress(?) brought us Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and all the rest, and our memory and attention span got carved up into little 140 character slices like cheap sushi.

Soon, we were so busy posting pictures of the baked beans we had for lunch that everything had to be shorter, faster, sooner!  The military especially, got into the business of acronyms.  SNAFU to you, too.  The government gave us FBI, CIA, DEA, IRS and NSA.  Companies began re-inventing themselves in sound-bites, or bytes.

The American Oil Company shortly became Amoco.  Standard Oil turned into Esso (S.O.).  Even the Off-Broadway Awards ended up as the Obies (O.B.s).

The record I think, belongs to the City of Los Angeles, which has truncated down from its original, Spanish name of “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula”, to the easily recognised L. A., a 98% reduction.

In Canada, it appeared most noticeable among the banks.  It seemed the larger the company, the smaller the name became.  A century ago, we had time to talk about The Canadian Imperial Bank, and The Bank of Commerce.  When they merged to become The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, they soon became known simply as C.I.B.C.

The Bank of Toronto seduced The Dominion Bank of Canada, and their married name, The Toronto Dominion Bank, was soon merely T.D.  When they almost went down the toilet with some American banks, they were White Knight rescued by Canada’s largest trust company, wisely named Canada Trust.  Strangely, there now seems to be time to say TD/Canada Trust – except by the Americans.

The financially re-invigorated corporation has now taken over a chain of 1300 small banks, east of the Mississippi.  They are known in the U.S. simply as TD Banks, so that Americans don’t think we’re stealing all their cash.

Nobody wanted to merge with poor little Bank of Montreal, and shortening its name to B.M. had unfortunate implications, so it became BMo – Bee-Moe.  When banks stopped being places that just stored and lent money and paid interest, BMo spun off BMo Financial.  To keep the banking separate from the gambling investment side of things, BMo Financial now owns The Bank of Montreal.  When they desperately try to drum up banking business with TV ads, they speak of ‘BMo-Bank of Montreal.’  They have come full circle, and the tail is now firmly wagging the dog.

Company names used to accurately and completely describe what a company did, made or sold.  You knew you were going to get greasy hash from ‘Bob’s Diner’, whereas ‘Roberto’s Food Emporium’ might be a wholesale warehouse, a grocery store or a restaurant.

I worked at Waterloo Metal Stamping, which made parts strictly for office furniture.  So many people approached them to make outside parts that they changed their name to Waterloo Furniture Components.

While not making them shorter, some companies hide behind silly names with no informational value.  If it hadn’t been for a class-action lawsuit, caused by allowing a Chinese company to make yoga pants so thin that the labels on panty liners were legible, I would never know what Lululemon was all about.

Likewise, what the hell does the company named Zulily do for a living??!  These two look like they were named by the smoked-up losers in a scrabble game, from leftover tiles.

Is there a literary copyright© on the name Ali Baba?  We have an Ali Baba Steakhouse locally.  I just hope those are beef steaks, not camel.  I think the company Alibaba, has a name which appears to have been formed by a rear-end collision.  What do they make/sell – camel saddles, sesame rolls, flying carpets, oil lamps??  Open says me – and tell all.  It would take a Genie-us to know.

I recently saw an online ad for a product called Lolo.  It came complete with a questionnaire.  Do you take Lolo?  Are you a doctor who prescribes Lolo?  Not without knowing what the Hell it is!  It turns out to be a new, cutesy birth-control pill.  Just what we needed.  It contains a heavy dose of obfuscation.

Do any of you have any silly name stories?  Don’t rush.  I’ve had enough for a while.   🙄

#474

Evolution of Intelligence

 

Bible

 

 

 

 

 

Is Evolution Proven?

A reader complained that two Provincial politicians have gone out of their way to deny evolution.  These politicians are correct.  The root word for evolution is evolve, and the word evolving means an on-going process.

Taken in that light, are those who believe in evolution not humans, or are they not humans anymore?  When a farmer plants corn seeds in the spring, does evolution – an ongoing process – yield a different crop?

And by the way, did corn, trees, weeds, flowers also originate from the same cell that developed monkeys, humans and animals?  Did stones also originate from that same cell?  Is evolution a proven fact? (1)

The writer also stated that politicians cannot express their Christian beliefs because, “their religion does not belong on Parliament Hill.”  Yet he implies that it is OK to bring his religion to Parliament Hill, because, when I do a Google search for a definition of religion, among the Oxford Dictionary meanings given is, “a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.”

This man puts his trust in man, and believes that man can save himself, and Christians believe in God, knowing that God is the only one who saves. (2)

Ignorance is not a quality I value in my government, nor should you, yet this letter writer demonstrates that very ignorance.

Faithful Christian

dinosaur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evolution Not Debatable

I wonder if Faithful Christian’s anti-evolution objections are cynical, straw-man arguments, or merely the ignorant type.

To even suggest that crops would evolve in a single growing season displays a disturbing ignorance of the mechanics and time-line of evolution.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It usually takes millennia, or eons.  Guided by farmers, knowledgeable in its workings, the corn grown today only vaguely resembles that found by explorers, 500 years ago.

The intelligent humans of today who believe in evolution, evolved from ignorant Neanderthal cavemen.  And yes Faithful, the first living cell, produced by God, obeyed His directives, and split many times, in many ways, to evolve into the almost infinite range of life here on His Earth.

To speak of stones having cells is, at best, hypocritical, but even stone evolves.  Spewed lava eventually evolves into basalt, and plain, loose sand, crushed beneath the weight of miles of seawater, evolves into firm sandstone.

“Evolution” is not a test of faith; it’s a test of intelligence.  God is not lying to us.  Fossils really are millions of years old.

Grumpy Old Archon

 

So, I was forced to miss yet another chance to keep my mouth shut.  Several newspaper readers had been writing about how much salt they had to use to achieve the municipally-mandated ‘bare concrete’ walkways in front of their houses.  Salt kills grass, pollutes waterways, ruins shoes and rusts out cars.

I was going to send in a letter suggesting that people try Urea crystals.  It melts like salt, but is a fertilizer, without salt’s bad side effects.  The biggest problem is finding it, and cheaply.  As a fertilizer, summertime and agricultural Co-ops yield the best results.

When I saw the above letter, I couldn’t resist tweaking the nose of another ‘Good Christian’, especially when he claimed to decry ignorance, and then asked such ignorant questions, and made such ignorant claims.

(1)

I cringed when I read the original subject letter, with its claim that evolution is a ‘fact.’  It appears to have more supporting evidence, but must still be taken on faith, just like religion.

(2)

This passage has absolutely nothing to do with the validity, or lack, of evolution.  The letter writer just throws it in to provide an emotionally-charged, fear-of-Damnation-raising, broad, believable base, for his otherwise baseless objections.

Fully Insured

The following are actual statements found on insurance forms, where car drivers attempted to summarize the details of an accident in the fewest words possible.  These instances of faulty writing serve to confirm that even incompetent writing may be highly entertaining.

Coming home, I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don’t have.

The other car collided with mine without giving warning of its intentions.

I thought my window was down, but I found out it was up when I put my head through it.

I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way.

A truck backed through my windshield into my wife’s face.

A pedestrian hit me and went under my car.

The guy was all over the road.  I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.

I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law and headed over the embankment.

In my attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole.

I had been shopping for plants all day and was on my way home.  As I reached an intersection, a hedge sprang up, obscuring my vision and I did not see the other car.

I had been driving for 40 years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident.

The telephone pole was approaching.  I was attempting to swerve out of its way when it struck the front end.

I was on my way to the doctor with rear end trouble when my universal joint gave way causing me to have an accident.

As I approached the intersection, a sign suddenly approached in a place where no stop sign ever appeared before.  I was unable to stop in time to avoid the accident.

To avoid hitting the bumper on the car in front, I struck the pedestrian.

My car was legally parked as it backed into the other vehicle.

An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my car and vanished.

I told the police that I was not injured, but on removing my hat, found that I had a fractured skull.

I was sure that the old fellow would never make it to the other side of the road when I struck him.

The pedestrian had no idea which direction to run, so I ran over him.

I saw a slow moving, sad faced old gentleman as he bounced off the roof of my car.

The indirect cause of the accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth.

I was thrown from my car as it left the road.  I was later found in a ditch by some stray cows.

***

Condom

 

 

 

 

 

Consistent with the Bi-Cultural Policy, the Canadian Government is now considering changing the National Emblem from the Maple Leaf, to the condom.  The reasons are that the condom withstands inflation, slows down production, protects a bunch of pricks, and gives a false sense of security while one is being screwed.   🙄

Big Talk

Stool

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two little kids, aged six and eight, decide it’s
time to learn how to swear. So, the eight year
old says to the six year old, “Okay, you say
`ass’ and I’ll say `hell'”.

All excited about their plan, they troop
downstairs, where their mother asks them what
they’d like for breakfast. “Aw, hell,” says the
eight-year-old, “gimme some Cheerios.” His mother
backhands him off the stool, sending him bawling
out of the room, and turns to the younger
brother. “What’ll you have?”

“I dunno,” quavers the six-year-old, “but you
can bet your ass it ain’t gonna be Cheerios.”

***

Is there life before coffee?

***

Fu, Bu and Chu immigrated to the US from China.
They decided to become American Citizens, and
“Americanize” their names.

Bu called himself “Buck”
Chu called himself “Chuck”
and Fu had to go back to China

***

There is a new statute in Pennsylvania that all
lawyers must be buried 20 feet under.

You see, they’ve found out that deep down all
lawyers are really good.

***

Smartness runs in my family. When I went to school
I was so smart my teacher was in my class for five years.

***

If you put the federal government in charge of the
Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.

***

After God had created Adam he noticed that he
looked very lonely. He decided to help. He said
“Adam, I’ve decided to make you a woman. She’ll
love you, cook for you, be sweet to you, and
understand you.” Adam said “Great! How much will
she cost me?” The answer came back, “An arm and
a leg.”

“Well,” said Adam “what can I get for a rib?”

***

How many mystery writers does it take
to screw in a light bulb?

Two: One to screw it almost all the way in and
the other to give it a surprising twist at the end.

***

The kindergarten class had a homework assignment
to find out about something exciting and relate
it to the class the next day. When the time came
for the little kids to give their reports, the
teacher was calling on them one at a time.

The teacher was reluctant to call upon little
Johnnie, knowing that he sometimes could be a bit
crude. But eventually his turn came. Little
Johnnie walked up to the front of the class, and
with a piece of chalk, made a small white dot on
the blackboard, then sat back down.

Well the teacher couldn’t figure out what Johnnie
had in mind for his report on something exciting,
so she asked him just what that was. ‘It’s a
period’, Johnnie explained.

‘Well I can see that,’ she said, ‘but what is so
exciting about a period?’

‘Damned if I know,’ said Johnnie, ‘but this
morning my sister said she missed one. Then Daddy
had a heart attack and Mommy fainted.’

***

An Army sentry had been posted at a base road gate, with the firm instructions that no vehicle was to be allowed on base without a special pre-authorized sticker.

A large car rolled up with no sticker, but a military driver and an officer in the back.  “Halt.  Who goes there?” he said.  The driver replied, “It’s General Wheeler.”  “I’m sorry; you can’t enter without a sticker.”  The General says, “Nonsense son, drive on.”

The sentry stepped out to block the car and repeated, “You can’t enter the base without a sticker for your car.”  The General said, “I’m a General.  I don’t wait.  Drive on son!”

The sentry pointed his rifle at the driver’s window, leaned forward and said, “I’m new at this sir.  Do I shoot you, or the driver??”   😕