Monday, July 28, 2014

Thanks for the Spam Stephen!

Dear Stephen:

Just a brief note,

Thanks for your ham handed poorly planned elimination of spam on my computer. 

Prior to your plan to rescue me from spam, I was getting a few of these special emails a week.  You told these people that they had to get my permission before a certain date to send me emails.

Well guess what.  My spam consumption has gone up to a remarkable level.  I wonder how many other people are getting more spam than they were a few weeks ago?

I was conscientious, I tried to check every one of those permission emails before I clicked ok, I thought I recognized every one of them as a company that I wanted to hear from… but it looks like I may have goofed.

It now seems that every Tom, Dick, and Harry who has something to flog now has my email and is sharing their business phones, security systems, holistic remedies, and just about anything you can think of with me.

Somebody sold my email and I’ll wager they’re selling it again and again.

Now that we have this wonderful law, what am I to do with all this newfound spam?  Can I forward it to you?  Is there a clearing agency that will contact these people and make them stop or face fines?

I seriously doubt that any of these wonderful offers are coming from Canadian sources. 

Maybe they come from the same office where my friend David works.  You know him, he’s the guy that calls from Microsoft’s virus alert team to let me know that my computer is spreading viruses all over the internet and he’ll fix if for me if I’ll just do a few simple commands on my computer.

Did you know that they have a 1-800 number in case the person who takes care of the computer isn’t at home?  Seriously, my wife told him that she couldn’t do it, but I could and he gave her a contact number.

I contacted the police about this, they said it wasn’t their jurisdiction, but they were good enough to give me the government site where I could lodge a complaint.

I never heard back from them, I thought I gave them permission to email me.

Anyhow, I’ll just go back to my old method of dealing with spam… Delete, delete, delete, until they get the message that this is pretty much a dead zone for their wares. 

It worked last time.

Thanks again! Banana-head.

Yours in annoyance,


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Letter to Harper re: Palestine

Dear Stephen.

It’s been a while since I last wrote, but I was wondering about some things and I hope that you can help me with them.

Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot in the news about the situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians.  Frankly, there is much here that I don’t understand, but mainly I don’t understand your position on all of this.

You might want to call me anti-Semitic because I am not pro-Israel or because I’m not anti-Palestinian but you’d be mistaken.  I have nothing against the people of the Jewish Faith any more than people who are Christians or Muslims for that matter.

What I am though is anti hate.

Look Stephen, I’ll agree that for the Hamas militants to fire rockets into Israel is wrong, but is the bombing of the Palestinians right?  The response of the Israeli government to the Hamas rockets, some 300 or 400 I understand, has been the dropping of hundreds of Israeli bombs on Palestine.  The response of the death of 10 Israelis has been the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians.

My question is when will it end?  Will it end when the last Palestinian lies dead in the street because there is no one left to bury him?

What do you think history will say if this occurs?

Will Benjamin Netanyahu be celebrated as a great hero, or will his name be listed alongside other notables like Stalin?

What will history have to say about Stephen Harper, if it even remembers you at all?

If history is nice, you might be remembered as a Neville Chamberlain type.  You had the ear of Mr. Netanyahu but chose to support him rather than to create a lasting peace in the Middle East.  If history is cruel, you could end up being Mr. Netanyahu’s Mussolini.

Even the Americans, the staunchest of Israel’s supporters are trying to get the offending sides to sit down and work out a compromise, and yet you distance Our stance from theirs.

You seem to support the Israeli government with an almost religious fervour and that troubles me.

You, me, the Israeli government, and Hamas all have something in common.  Our religions are all derived from the God of Abraham.  We are all related.  We share a common God.

Does that bother you?  It bothers the Hell out of me.

These are rival factions of the same family beating the life out of each other and it appears that the one side has the power to do the other in.

And you?  You’re cheering them on.

They tell me there is a special place in Hell for those who do nothing when evil occurs.  Do you suppose there is a worse place for those who cheer on the evil doers?

We are told that Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers” so why aren’t we working towards peace in stead of sending Mr. Baird to the UN to chastise those who want the fighting to stop?

While I’m thinking of the Bible, there are very few actual words of God recorded.  I mean quotes like “Thou shalt not kill.”

Or are you one of those who believe in the “end times”?  Are you looking forward to the Apocalypse and think that the Balkanization of the Middle East is just another step on that journey?

How long can this situation between Israel and Palestine go on until someone says “Enough” and takes up arms in support of one side or the other?  And then the fun begins…

I really don’t fear God unleashing the Apocalypse.  God promised Noah that He would never again eradicate humankind after the great flood.

If God is all powerful and hates the unbelievers the way some think He does, why does He allow them to have children?  Why wouldn’t He just wave his hand and render all the offending religions and Nations barren?  Within decades there would be no one left to fight, only the Chosen Ones would remain.

No, if there is to be an Apocalypse, it will be caused by man and fought by man.  If Jesus should arrive at the end, I doubt that he will be dressed in armour and riding a white steed.  He’ll more likely be dressed in a poor man’s robes, ministering to the sick and dying.

He’ll likely be preaching again too.

“Look what the word of man hath wrought.  Come to me and let us create a new world where we can live in peace.”

I doubt that you’ll be invited Stephen.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Some By-Election Musings

Or, what if they held an election and no one showed up.

It’s been a week since the by-elections and I still can’t figure out what went on.  OK, I get it that by-elections generally have lower turnouts than full elections, but to set two records for lowest turnout is ridiculous.

I’ve heard from the apologists who say things like they had to run the elections then because of the time limits, or the almost helpful they should have gone to the advance polls if they couldn’t vote on the 30th, but these don’t explain the incredibly lacklustre showings at the polls in Alberta.

The numbers from Ontario were far from overwhelming, but at 30% give or take a point or two the turnouts were not unusual for a by-election.  The best result was in Trinity-Spadina where the Liberals hoped to take Olivia Chow’s seat from the NDP and they did.  But this was hardly a major upset, that riding was Liberal before Ms. Chow and so it was more like retaking ground from the NDP.

But a win is a win.

On the other hand, if anyone should be suffering from election fatigue, it should be Ontario.  After all there was a Provincial Election just run here and these two ridings are part of the ongoing electoral circus that is Toronto’s Mayoral Race which feels like it is going on to its 48th month.

So what in the name of Democracy happened in Alberta?

Granted, the timing of the by-election was a stinker.  Setting the date as the Monday before the semi-fixed Canada Day Holiday on Tuesday was in my opinion a brain cramp of the highest order.  Some people would get Monday off for a three day weekend, some would get a four day weekend, and how many people schedule their vacation for the first full week in July to get that extra day off?  Don’t all these people working in the PMO get Government Issue BlackBerrys to stay in contact with each other?  My not very smart phone has a calendar, surely theirs do too.

But no one said “Hey Steve, that’s the day before Canada Day?

Or was it part of the plan?

Generally low turnouts at the polls favour the incumbents, did they figure low turnout would help keep the incumbent party in place in Macleod and Fort McMurray?

In Fort McMurray it almost backfired, the Liberals increased their number of votes from the 2011 election and were for a while, threatening to take the riding. 

Or maybe everyone just figured that since it was Alberta, the Harper Party was a shoo-in?

I don’t know. 

If they had decided to hold these by-elections on the 23rd of June, would the numbers have been better?  Something inside me says no.

When the Harper Party handed the Election Reform bill to Pierre Poilievre, I think they were looking at the whole thing backwards.  We really didn’t need any new rules to keep people from voting, we do a fine job of that on our own.  Maybe it would have made more sense if Skippy had set his mind to figuring out how to get people to go to the polls instead and then I wouldn’t be writing this.

Maybe we should give everyone who votes a free coffee and doughnut with a chance to win a new car.

We’d need a catchy name for that, though.