Sunday, October 31, 2004

Bush-Kerry-Bush-Kerry...

I don't know if I can hold out for two more days without going insane!
And I'm not even IN the United States.

If I could vote - I'd vote for Kerry.
As would a preponderance of Canadians according to some poll I read about recently.
Only the Albertans aren't too sure about him - something having to do with beef going across the border, mad cow, yadda yadda, whatever.

What does strike me as interesting:

It can be argued (and I believe it) that the Republicans use fear-mongering to win votes.
In the most recent Canadian election, a mere four months ago, it was the left wing that attempted to keep the re-emerging Conservative Party down, with similar tactics.

In the US, Liberal is a dirty word; in Canada it's the ruling party.

On election graphics, Canadian Liberals are red, like the Republicans while Canadian Conservatives are blue, like the democrats.

I don't even begin to know where I belong, but I suspect my Conservative leanings here put me somewhere to the LEFT of the Democratic party there.

Two more days - until the recounts, of course...

Saturday, October 30, 2004

P.C. Alert

School Afraid Of Offending Real Witches Cancels Halloween

And I thought it was ridiculous when the City of Toronto (my favourite whipping boy) tried to rename its Christmas Tree as a Holiday Tree.

I'm not a big fan of Halloween. I don't like the idea of children out in the streets begging strangers for candy; I don't like to walk into my local Walmart and be confronted with big black spiders which freak me out in the split second it takes before I realize they're fake.
I don't like the images of horror and death.

Halloween flies in the face of common sense, of what a celebration should be. Thanksgiving, National Days, Labour Day, various religious celebrations all have obvious positive raisons d'etre.
Even the dreaded Valentine's Day has its heart in the right place.
(pun intended, of course!)

But to a child, Halloween is a chance to dress in costume, to go out after dark, to ring door bells and be greeted (ideally) with approval and... CANDY!
All more or less unacceptable behaviours the rest of the year.

Like it or not, it's part of North American culture. I can even consider an argument that it's a good thing in that it encourages us to confront our fears, laugh at them and make fun of them.
Even to rehearse, in a safe environment, our reaction to real danger.

In any case, citing a fear of offending real witches along with a couple of other lame excuses for cancelling the holiday in that Washington State school system gives me a reason to wonder just how toxic are the fumes from Mt. St. Helens, anyway...





Friday, October 29, 2004

Afterthought

The Blogger spell check doesn't recognize blog as a word.

Cool.

First Post

So.
If I lived in Iran, I could be thrown in jail for doing what I'm doing right now:
posting my thoughts on the internet.

Censorship is nothing new, of course. It's just that I'm used to thinking about it in Cold War terms. But "red" is good and "liberal" is bad now so I better update my sensibilities.

I used to think my mother was paranoid. Now, looking back, I realize she was realistic given the context of the times.
In school we had a "Norman Bethune" society, a local charity where we were encouraged to volunteer. My mother came as close to forbidding me to join as she could, and since I didn't really care anyway, I humoured her.

Now I realize that the images of the McCarthy hearings and the trial and eventual execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, all of which occurred around the time I was born, were still fresh in her mind.

In University, students in the freshman psychology class were recruited to undergo some basic memory tests. Nothing fancy, just flash card stuff, as I recall.
My then-boyfriend threw a fit and strongly discouraged my participation.
Again I conceded. I only take a stand when it's really important to me.
(Whether that's a good thing is a subject for another time.)
Years later, it came out that patients in the hospital affiliated with the university were being used as guinea pigs for the CIA.

No, really.

I still don't think it would have affected me as a student, and I still don't know how my friend got wind of it or what made him suspicious way back then, but I can no longer ascribe it merely to paranoia.

More recently, I recall my son Mark's nervousness during our celebration of New Year's 2000, in Fort Lauderdale.
He kept whining about terrorists and bombs.

Paranoia just ain't what it used to be anymore.

So I don't plan to move to Iran anytime soon but I do plan to blog - because I can.