Sunday, February 28, 2010

There are only two kinds of people... (2)

There are only two kinds of people...

Those who signal lane changes, and those who don't. As a teen I took Driver's Ed. I was taught you always signal a lane change. It's the law, and it's the right thing to do. So, I always signal lane changes. It's a habit.

Signaling a lane change sends a signal to the rest of the world that you are a) self-aware, and b) deliberate in your driving.

It is not only the safer thing to do, it is the courteous thing to do. It lets people know that you are aware there are other drivers on the road.

Conversely, failing to signal sends a signal that either you a) were never properly taught, b)are forgetful/sloppy in your driving habits, or c) really don't care about others or what they think.

I watched Litter-Guy drive off as the light changed. I watched him make two abrupt lane changes, sans signals. Somehow not signaling seems to fit being a litterer. Both are (at least mildly) anti-social behaviors.

Am I being too harsh here?

And that's not all. As I drove up beside the guy to get a look at him, I came to my next observation. Which I will tell you about.


And that's the way the blink-blink lane-changing Ball bounces.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

There are only two kinds of people... (1)

There are only two kinds of people...

Those who litter, and those who don't. I was behind a guy in Phoenix today who falls into the latter category. Driving a huge late-model luxury SUV. Stopped at an intersection. Suddenly a cranked-up paper towel falls from the window to the pavement below. I give him a disapproving honk (but not so disapproving that he will come at me with his piece, if he's packin' one, and you know he is, if you catch my drift. One of the risks of being in Arizona.

I was raised in the Ontario school system in the 50s and 60s. Somewhere along the way I was taught not to litter. It stuck with me. And, it makes sense. Respect others, respect the environment.

In fact, sometimes if I've got a spare minute, I'll go around and pick up OPL -- other people's litter. Did some of that yesterday at an Urgent Care Centre.

I'll betcha a person that litters is also the kind of person that....

(to be continued when the light turns green).

And that's the way the leaving-the-envirionment-better-than-I-found-it Ball bounces.

(What's up with the hyphenation of words -- I have no idea. It ain't me, babe, it's Blogger you're lookin' for, babe.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The science is settled...

"There is a lack of consensus," says Kevin Trenberth (head of the Climate Analysis Section at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research) on why global temperatures have not matched a peak set in 1998".

Well, I'm glad that's settled.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Danny Williams: The Beat Goes On

Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams reportedly told his communications staff prior to leaving Canada for heart surgery in Miami: “This is my heart. It’s my health and it’s my choice.”


And it was only "his choice" because there is a place on earth close to us called the United States of America. The choice he exercised is the very choice he and Canadian politicians like him seek to deny the rest of us in Canada. It is sheer, dripping hypocrisy to be against "two-tier health-care" when you take your own health needs to the US.

Thank God for the United States of America.

And that's the way the beep-beep heart-thumpin' Ball bounces.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Road Trip: Toronto to Winslow, Arizona

Monday: Toronto - Dayton, Ohio. Winter storm south of Detroit. Crawl to Dayton. Stay at Dayton Airport Holiday Inn, booked 0n Priceline. A smoker's paradise.

Tuesday: Dayton - Rolla, Missouri. Eleven cars and trucks off the side of the highway, including tractor trailers, including one that had flipped on its side; one SUV was bottoms-up. Stayed at Drury Inn, booked directly.

Wednesday: Rolla - Oklahoma City. Celebrated birthday at Chili's Tulsa with the Monroes. On to Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma Renaissance -- extraordinary property awarded at a deep discount on Priceline.

Thursday: Oklahoma City - Santa Rosa NM. Travelling along I-40 at 75 mph. Life is good. Stayed at a tired Best Western Adobe in Santa Rosa. Booked on Hotwire. Had hoped we would be the Holiday Inn Express down the road.

Friday: Santa Rosa - Winslow, AZ. Yes, that Winslow. Couple of early-morning major accidents. Morning sun? Early-morning ice on the road? Inattentive driver? Must. Stay. Alert.

Staying at the extraordinary, historic, La Posada; dining at the adjacent "destination restaurant" The Turquoise Room. Plan to stand on a corner and buy a Route 66 CD at the store across the street. "It's a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowin' down to take a look at me". One of the all-time great lyrics.

The La Posada is a former Harvey House hotel with an AmTrak at its front side and Route 66 at its back; you just don't get more American-historic than this.

If you come, plan on spending as much at the Restaurant as you do at the Hotel. If you can only have one meal, make it breakfast. Two, breakfast and lunch.

Saturday morning. Sinuses draining in the dry high-desert climate. I know, I know. Too Much Information. Just want y'all to know that arriving in Arizona from points north and east has its consquences.

Heading over to snowy Flagstaff and then south to sunny Phoenix. Fifteen bonus points for the first person to spot a saguaro cactus.

Nothing beats a road trip.

Hope you enjoyed my brief travelogue.

And that's the way the desert-bound-Ball bounces.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Gaia's Wardrobe Malfunction

I turned on the TV last night just in time to see the Olympic torch lighting ceremony. In one last bit of defiance, Gaia refused to release from her motherly grasp one of the in-ground pillars that would shoot the Olympic flame skyward. It stayed clutched in Gaia's bosom. The other man-made, CO2-belching pillars ripped the earth, and shot skyward. Gaia's gentle tears fell from the sky. In spite of Earth's protests, the cauldron was lit, and in a moment that united billions with enraptured emotion, CO2 belched gloriously forth from the Olympic flame.

Meanwhile, on the ground, trucks continue 24/7 to haul snow -- snow -- on a three-hour trip to the Olympic site, along with helicopters. Somebody in Africa is going to have to go a long time without electricity to pay for this we-are-the-world-and-you're-not moment.

Funny thing. The same people who love the Olympics, who love flying in from all over the world to get there, and then flying all the way back again, are the same people who think the Earth is on fire and want to control our lives.

If the Earth really faced imminent catastrophe, wouldn't it have been better to cancel the games?

And that's the way the stayed-at-home-deserve-a-medal Ball bounces.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bring on the Games!

I watch the Olympics, in fits and starts, but I'm not a "believer" -- I don't go for the Olympic spirit, Olympic glory, we-are-the-world uber-planetary patriotism schtick that goes along with the games.

Raymond J. de Souza has a good summary of the quirkiness of the winter games, here.

He concludes, "There is only one medal that matters -- the hockey gold -- which means that the rest of time, the Olympics can simply be enjoyed as a great winter carnival."

A great insight. With all its odd-ball events, it really does suit a winter carnival characterization, doesn't it?!

He makes a really good, breathtakingly obvious suggestion. With all the odd-ball sports already on the agenda, "... why not plain old tobogganing, which surely is the most universal of winter sports?"

Why not, indeed? There could be a family event, where the toboggan must be manned by a parent and his/her kids -- that would be fun to watch.

Let's begin a pro-tobogganing lobby to get tobogganing where it belongs -- inside the winter Olympics.

And that's the way the to-to-tobogganing Ball b-b-bbounces down the slope.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Ralph Kramden Makes Good

Ralph Kramden always had a scheme going. Sure, he had no phone. He had no TV. He had no car. He had no iPod, iPad, iChat, iWorks, iBook or iPhone. But he had his dreams. And his schemes. Why? Ralph was a lowly NYC bus driver. You couldn't afford the "good life" on a bus driver's salary.

Fast-forward to 2010.

It's not sewer-work.

But, surely it's the next best thing.

And that's the way the wanna-be bus-drivin' Ball bounces.

Meanwhile, the TTC union head assures us being a TTC worker is "hell". In response, I suggest long-suffering customers offer all TTC workers Get-Out-Of-Hell-Free walking papers.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Harper must speak on abortion: Ignatieff

Harper must speak on abortion. Really? When a Conservative leader whispers abortion, he's accused of being divisive. When a Liberal leader shouts it, he's supposedly being a gutsy, principled leader.

But, would a Liberal leader actually use the slaughter of the unborn to advance his party's political agenda?


"OTTAWA -- Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff says Prime Minister Stephen Harper must include abortion in his G8..."

The full NP article, with a snap of ground-hog (six more weeks of Conservative rule) Iggy, here.

And that's the way the I-thank-God-I'm-not-a-Liberal Ball bounces.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Full Body Scams

This just in: UK Air passengers who refuse a full body scan to be barred from their flights.

I'm all for this. In fact, I just consulted my body, and it says it can't wait to be scanned. As long as it gets to scan the guy who's scanning it.

Good. Sauce. Goose. Gander.

I just hope the advent of full body scans doesn't mean the end of full body pat-downs, I mean no one would want to see those fall by the way-side.

I'm a hip,with-it, post 9-11, post 7-11, post-shoebomber, post pantybomber guy. I'm wearing velcro-laced shoes so I can whip them off at the right moment, and also plan to wear velcro-laced disposable underwear on that great day when I return to Canada from the U.K.

When is that, you ask?

Can't say -- that would be revealing things to the terrorists. Gotta keep 'em guessing.

Flying out of Heathrow on Friday!

Drat -- gave it away.

And that's the way the global Ball bounces.

A Can a Month?!

This from the National Post:

"In the course of a year, you go through about a dozen cans of shaving foam. 250 grams runs about $5 a can. That’s $60 annually. One puck of shaving soap, on the other hand, will run you under $2 and will last seasons."

A can of shaving foam a month? Are you kidding me? I know I travel a lot, but I get a can of shaving foam in my bathroom and it lasts me for what seems like years. Buying a new can is an event. We even have a ceremony to honor the occasion.

What about the rest of you? Is there anyone on the planet that goes through a can of shaving foam a month? I want to hear from you.

Still, a "puck" of shaving soap does sound appealing. Mahovolich at the blue line. He's going in. He shoots... he scores!

And that's the way the puck bounces.

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Two Lists: A Former Pro-Choice Atheist Reflects on Sex, Abortion and Anger

Two lists is a good way of looking at the problem of sexual immorality and abortion.

"In every society, there are two critical lists: acceptable conditions for having a baby, and acceptable conditions for having sex. From time immemorial, the one thing that almost every society had in common is that their two lists matched up. It was only with the widespread acceptance of contraception in the middle of the 20th century, creating an upheaval in the public psyche in which sex and babies no longer went hand-in-hand, that the two lists began to diverge. And now, in 21st-century America, they look something like

A thoughtful response to the twin problems of sexual immorality and abortion.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"