2 October 2015

What I'll probably be trying to remember all month long

Let nothing disturb thee,
Nothing affright thee
All things are passing;
God never changeth;
Patient endurance
Attaineth to all things;
Who God possesseth
In nothing is wanting;
Alone God sufficeth.

St.  Theresa of Avila

30 September 2015

L'etat, C'est Moi.

I've seen a fair few debates on-line over Justin Trudeau's recent statement that he would not revoke the  citizenship of terrorists.  However, what I found more interesting about Trudeau's statement was the second half which no one is discussing.  After making his statement about terrorism and citizenship, Trudeau issued a dare to his opponents, telling them they can include that in their next attacks ads.  "You can say the Liberal Party believes this," he declared.  "Because I do."

There are two points I wish to make about this statement.  First, there was no need to mention the Liberal party as a target of the attack ads, because they are not.  The attack ads are solely directed at Justin Trudeau himself.  That Trudeau felt the need to include the Liberal Party in his statement, (and also, strangely, because the attack ads of his opponents barely mention the party) doubles down on my next point, which is:  Second, once again we have this growing identification between leader and party. As I have said many times before, and which is becoming an even greater concern to me, is how we are no longer being asked to vote for  our representatives.  We are no longer being asked to pick the person who can best represent our ridings and send them to Ottawa to advise the Queen on her governing of Canada.  No.  Instead, the leaders are asking us  to pick from the people who are representing the leaders to us. 

Trudeau has simply taken that to the next step.  What he believes is what the party believes.  Period.  End of sentence.  That is what I find most important about his declaration- not the content of the declaration, but this assumption which was left unchallenged by the press.   It really does not matter to me upon what issue Trudeau declares that the party must follow him.  It could be this, or abortion, or unpaid parking tickets.  I don't care.  What I do care about is that the leaders are increasingly demanding that their parties be filled with fawning sycophants and bootlickers- bodies with no mind of their own, and no opinions.  I hate this trend with a passion.  I do not believe, and I will never believe, that Canada is best served by a gang of yes men. "L'etat, c'est moi" is not a sentiment that should cross the mind or lips of any Canadian politician, ever.

28 September 2015

Hockey season is about to begin

I  am getting ready for Leafs Derangement Syndrome. Not really a fan myself, I have been observing fans for decades. The Syndrome follows a predictable pattern.

October: I think we got a shot.
 November: Yah! We're doing great! I toldja!
December: Darned injuries. But we're still in it, right?...
January: Right?
February: Stupid coach.
March: We're not yet mathematically eliminated.
April. Crap.
May: Next year for sure. After all, we got top draft pick again, right?

Looking forward to another year of watching the fans ending up looking forward to another year.

27 September 2015

Promoting delusions

A few weeks back we had the retired priest who helps out around the parish saying Mass again.  For his homily he once again hit one of his favourite themes:  Vatican.II and the wonders it has worked.  He spent some time mocking- there is no other word for it- the pre-conciliar Church, as compared to, say, today.

Puff nearly stormed out of Mass.  I was, as always when this guy preaches, grateful the girls pretty much ignore the homily.  I just sat mentally counting his errors.

I could go and rebut him point by point, but why bother? Instead, I reject his conclusion on its face.  If you want to tell me things were a mess pre V II, sure, I imagine it was.  But then you want to tell me that everything is so much better now, particularly in a church that's seven eighths empty?  Not buying it.  Not for a second.

25 September 2015

on perusing yet again the "news"

Back when I was working for my pointless degrees, it was common to state that, when encountering a new 'text', the reader/interpreter/perceiver did not work towards an understanding, but from one. At the time I thought those who held that position- who were inevitably left in the political spectrum, simply because almost everyone in the department swung left- were projecting, because it was clear that was what they themselves did. For a feminist, every book and poem we read... was about the role and oppression of women. For Marxists, the class struggle. For deconstructionists, every text was a re-enactment of the interplay of signifies and signified, wherein meaning is opposite or non existent.

And so on.

As I said, I had thought this was a left imposition or projection, claiming that all readings are a projection of the reader's interpretive praxis, wherein the final meaning or lack thereof was always already in place before the reading was begun, in order to justify or cover what they themselves were so obviously doing. now I am not so sure. All sides are constantly projecting what they believe to be already there when they encounter some new event or information. How else could Francis not mention abortion and religious liberty yet simultaneously lecture congress on those topics? How else could I read today that, depending on the source, all the party leaders won the debate? None of that was what happened. All of that was what the interpreters decided what happened because their stunted ideologies told them so, even before any of these events occurred.

"News".  "Interpretation".  The words are profaned.  These writings are nothing of the sort.  They are all the echoes of the single thoughts ringing in closed minds.

23 September 2015

Here's one to show your daughters

What's that? You want to see a video of a young woman who weighs maybe a buck and a quarter but only if you cover her in wool and soak her in hot water for an hour take out some stupid mugger whose got a foot in height and a hundred pounds n weight on her with a martial artistry that would make Chuck Norris cry a single cancer curing tear of envy? No problem!

I realize this doesn't quite match the "turn the other cheek" ideal, but...

22 September 2015

More stuff I've made

Elder wanted to play some board games the other day, which reminded me that I have made some games in the past.  They are all simply made from leftover wood with the games painted on.  Here are some pictures and brief explanations.

First off, Monotony, er, Monopoly.  I made this board when the old board wore out.

This was the game she wanted to play, but, unfortunately, Frodo got into the tin where we keep the pieces and the cards, so good luck with that.  Does anyone know of any stores where I could get replacements?

Next up, the game on the other side of the board, The Game Of The Goose.

Think of it as a renaissance Snakes and Ladders.  I found out about it when I had an interest in old games.  The design is from a photo I found on the net.  The hardest part was drawing a spiral, but I figured something out in the end.  This is the game Elder and I ended up playing that day.  Frodo also lost the pieces for this one, so we improvised...


... with dinosaurs.  These were some toys I made for bazaars which didn't sell.  They worked fine, though, for just two players.  Besides, everything is more awesome with dinosaurs.  This is a well established fact.
Up next, some asymmetrical games.  I find the idea of these games fascinating, because they are unusual in our era.  Most out our board games are symmetrical:  Two or more equal sides with identical goals, like Chess.  Asymmetrical games have two unequal sides with different goals.  First up is the Viking board game, Hnefatafl.

Many of the boards for this game are elaborately decorated with Celtic knotwork and whatnot.  Good for them.  This board is simple, made with a paint marker a  straight edge.  It looks a little like a small Go board.  Hnefatafl is curious, in part because no one is entirely certain how it is played. But a simple Google search will give you dozens of educated guesses, some less flawed than the others.  Here's the board with a conjectured set up.

If I were to make the pieces again, I'd probably go with dinosaurs, because if there's one thing more awesome than Vikings, it's dinosaur Vikings.  The goal of this game is to get the king, the taller piece in the centre, to one of the corners, or to stop that from happening.
On the other side of the board is what was apparently Queen Victoria's favourite game:  Fox and Geese.
Queen Victoria was amused.
Again, I kept it simple.  Here's a possible set up:
The idea is one fox versus a bunch of geese.  Movement is along the lines.  The fox can capture geese by jumping like a checker piece.  The geese cannot jump the fox.  The fox attempts to capture all the geese.  The geese try and corner the fox.  It is cool, although it would be more awesome if it were called "Tyrannosaur and Triceratops."
And there you go.  Cheap to make, and fun for the family.  Batteries not required.